Mungo Park was the original lone explorer of West Africa. The first European to reach the Niger, record its flow direction and return alive, he was considered a hero on his return. He died during his second exploration attempt inland along the Niger to discover the city of Timbuktu. Published posthumously in 1815 by the African Institution, which had sponsored his journey, a biography, personal letters and the account of the rescue team sent to discover his fate accompany Park's own journal of the expedition. The journals and letters are a fascinating description of the constant dangers and thrill of the age of exploration. Battling adverse weather, local hostility, tropical diseases and the death of nearly all his party including his brother-in-law, Park writes 'I would still persevere; and if I could not succeed in the object of my journey, I would at least die on the Niger.'