The year was 1890. King Leopold II of Belgium was trying to secure his piece of the cake during the period referred to as ‘The Scramble for Africa’. He first turned to Henry Morton Stanley to push forward with his Congo Free State, but the ageing explorer turned down the offer and recommended a young Canadian officer who had served valiantly with Stanley during the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition.
Captain William Grant Stairs, 27 years young, accepted the offer to lead King Leopold’s expedition to Katanga. The young officer, along with a Frenchman, an English man, an Irishman and a Belgian (arguably a team of hired mercenaries), set off from the east coast of Africa for the province of Katanga in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In a moment of sheer recklessness one impetuous young member of the Stairs Expedition to Katanga altered not only the course of the Garanganze people and their King Msiri but also his own life and that of the rest of the expeditionary team.
This talk is part of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Inspiring People talks programme.
Julian Monroe Fisher is an explorer noted primarily for his exploration of the African continent.
Julian’s expeditions have turned their focus to the Katanga Province of The Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 and 2010 where he is working closely with Sa Majeste´ Mwenda-Bantu Munongo Godefroid Mwami, the king of the Garanganze people of Katanga.
Julian is researching the events of the 1891-92 Stairs Expedition to Katanga as well as potential local unexcavated archaeological sites. He is also working with Mwami Munongo and his family to build the first royal museum in the Congo and an Anthropological research station in the village of Bunkeya.