Narrative of Voyages to Explore the Shores of Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar
William Fitzwilliam Owen (1774-1857) was a British naval officer. Between 1821 and 1826 he commanded an expedition to Africa, Arabia and Madagascar with the Royal Navy ships Leven and Barracouta, during which he mapped some 30,000 miles of coastline. His memoirs of the voyage are presented in this two-volume account, first published in 1833. Volume 1 begins by presenting Owen's instructions from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and the Hydrographical Office, on which the editor comments that Owen was not given the power to take account of seasonal climate changes. Through Owen's recollections we learn that this proved fatal, as many of his crew succumbed to tropical diseases. Providing a vivid account of African exploration in the nineteenth century, Owen also documents his encounters with native peoples and wildlife. His writings remain of great interest to geographers, historians and anthropologists.