Distinguished Women of Past and Present


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Alexandrine Tinne

From: Netherlands
Fields: Exploration and Adventure
Tinné, Alexandrine Pieternella Françoise (1835-1869), Dutch explorer of the Nile River and North Africa. Tinné was born in The Hague, Netherlands, to a wealthy family. An unhappy love affair may have prompted her to leave home and embark on a voyage up the Nile in search of the river's source. In 1862 Tinné hired a small fleet of boats in Cairo, Egypt, and left on her first expedition up the Nile. Accompanying her were her mother, her aunt, several scientists, and a number of assistants and servants. Tinné ascended the Nile as far as Gondokoro, in present-day southern Sudan, above which the river became unnavigable. She planned to meet British explorer John Hanning Speke, who was exploring the upper reaches of the Nile to the south. When Speke's expedition failed to arrive when expected, Tinné set off on her own to determine the source of the Nile. Traveling overland, she ventured into the watershed region between the Congo and Nile rivers, in the northeastern part of present-day Zaire. Tinné's explorations took her into regions of central Africa that were not yet mapped and seldom visited by Europeans. She returned to Gondokoro in September 1862, and after again failing to meet up with Speke, she headed downriver and back to Cairo. Both her mother and aunt, as well as two of the scientists, died of fever during the trip. Tinné lived in Cairo until she moved to Algiers, Algeria, in 1867. She resumed her African explorations in 1869, intending to become the first European woman to cross the Sahara Desert. From Tripoli, on the Mediterranean Sea coast of Libya, she headed south to the oasis city of Murzuk. While waiting there for an Arab caravan with which she planned to continue her journey southward, Tinné took a side trip to visit the nomadic Tuareg tribes. On the way to a Tuareg encampment, Tinné was robbed and murdered by her guides.

Contributed by: Alan Wexler

"Tinne, Alexandrine Pieternella Francoise" Microsoft® Encarta.
Copyright© 1995 Microsoft Corporation.


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