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Travel literature, manuscript journals and correspondence offer rich sources on the discovery of new countries and cultures.
Some travellers went looking for adventure, excitement and new discoveries. Others found such experiences through war or diplomatic missions.
Arthur Phillip embarked for Botany
Bay in 1787 with a fleet including six transports of
convicts. He was governor of a new penal colony at
His account of the voyage, which contained descriptions of the landscape, wildlife, and the indigenous peoples, was eagerly received by the public back home. There was great interest in such exotic new creatures as the kangaroo.
A watercolour sketch from his notebook
of 1843 illustrates the experience of Mansfield
Parkyns of Bunny, Nottinghamshire, as an early explorer
in Abyssinia. He spent three
years among the indigenous people there. His 'Life in Abyssinia'
(1853) has remained an influential account of early Ethiopia.
In 'Iceland: its scenes and sagas', Sabine Baring-Gould wrote of "...the red gable of Hlithar Fjall standing up soft and rosy in the evening air, with a fleck of white on its apex".
He was one of many travellers drawn to Iceland in the mid 19th century. It was thought of as a wild and romantic land, scene of the heroic deeds of saga literature.
Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.