Sidi Mubarak Bombay, a Yao born in East Africa, was awarded an RGS silver medal for his work as protector and guide for British explorers, including Speke, Livingstone and Stanley. His name derives from an earlier period spent in India following capture by slave traders.
'Moobarik Bombay'. By J. A. Grant, 1860. Stereoscopic photograph, 9.5 x 20.4 cm, S0011718
The idea of the ‘faithful follower’ was reinforced by carefully-staged photographs of David Livingstone's assistants with members of his family and the editor of his posthumously published journals.
Abdullah Susi, James Chumah and Horace Waller, with Agnes Livingstone and Tom Livingstone, at Newstead Abbey. By R. Allen & Sons (Nottingham), 1874. Sepia photograph, 14.5 x 19.8 cm, S0010346
Nain Singh worked for the Indian Survey under the code name ‘Pundit’ (meaning scholar or teacher) until his identity was revealed in 1876. On the recommendation of retired Indian officer and historical geographer, Colonel Henry Yule, he was awarded the RGS Founders Medal.
Nain Singh, 'The Pundit'. By unknown photographer, n. d. B & W photogravure, 25.3. x 20.1cm, S0001188
Reports of violence on Stanley’s trans-African expedition (1874-7) provoked heated debates about the ethics of exploration. Colonel Henry Yule, an eminent historical geographer, resigned from the RGS Council in protest. Another critic was Henry Hyndman, later to found the Social Democratic Federation, a socialist political party.
Stanley’s critics. Mr Henry M. Stanley and the Royal Geographical Society, being the record of a protest, by H. Yule and H.M. Hyndman (London, 1878), 22.8 x 15.25cm, S0020715
The first edition of Hints to Travellers, published by the RGS in 1854, included the following advice: “The greatest forbearance and discretion are strongly recommended in all intercourse with the natives – never to allow an imaginary insult to provoke retaliation which may lead to bloodshed. It must be borne in mind that theirs is the right of soil – we are the aggressors”.
Hints to Travellers. Ninth edition, 1906. 17.4 x 12.7cm, S0020736/0020739