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The Mission
The mission
Locating Missionary Science

On 7 January 1844, Johann Ludwig Krapf of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) arrived at Zanzibar on the coast of East Africa. A German missionary, educated at the University of Basle, he had been employed by the Society to establish a mission base from which to Christianise ‘the interior’, which at this stage was still little known to Europeans. Though primarily and ultimately a Christianising endeavour, Krapf was aware of the scientific opportunity that such a venture could afford, suggesting in 1860 that:

The labours of a missionary pioneer must ever form a contribution to geographical and ethnographical science, if as should always be the case, those missionaries who enter unexplored wilds become at the same time promoters of geographical knowledge ...

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