Alexandre Alberto da Rocha de Serpa Pinto

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Alexandre Alberto da Rocha de Serpa Pinto.

Alexander Albert da la Roche de Serpa Pinto (born April 20, 1846 in Polchras Palace on the Douro , † December 28, 1900 in Lisbon ) was a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator.


Serpa Pinto was raised in America, where his father emigrated in 1848. In 1858 he returned to Portugal, attended the military school in Lisbon until 1864 and then joined the infantry as a lieutenant .

Transferred to the Portuguese colony of Mozambique , he made several small trips there and, as a major, was appointed head of a colonial expedition equipped by Portugal in 1877. From Benguela he went to Bihé via Quillengues and Ngola . He separated from his companions Capello and Ivens, who went north, along the Cubango, and explored the upper tributaries of the Zambezi .

Here he claims to have discovered a "white human tribe ", the Cassequere . From the Cuando he reached Lialui on the left bank of the Zambezi, where he repulsed an attack by the Marutse-Mambunda, but lost all his porters through desertion .

He now moved south to Victoria Falls and counted 37 cataracts on this stretch of the Zambezi , then from Schoschong to Pretoria and reached Aden on March 16, 1879 , from where he returned to Europe.

The description of his journey appeared in several languages, in German under the title Migration across Africa (Leipzig 1881).

In 1885 he undertook a new expedition with Cardozo, an officer of the Portuguese navy, an English photographer, 250 porters and an escort of 800 armed locals from Inhambane to explore the area in the west of Lake Nyasa and in the south of Lake Bangweulus to Loangwe .

However, an illness forced him to hand over the leadership to Cardozo. The expedition was struck by other accidents, but they triangulated a route to Ibo and further inland to Blantyre and back to the mouth of the Zambezi . In 1886 Pinto returned to Portugal.

In 1889 Pinto undertook a new expedition to the Shire and subjugated the Makololo country to Portuguese rule, although he knew that this had recently been placed under English protectorate. An ultimatum from the British government on January 11, 1890, forced the Portuguese to withdraw from the conquered territory. In April 1890 Serpa Pinto returned to Lisbon. In 1891 he was accepted as a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences .

Serpa Pinto died in Lisbon on December 28, 1900.


  • Serpa Pinto's hike across Africa from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean through hitherto largely completely unknown countries, the discovery of the great tributaries of the Zambesi, freely translated by H. v. Wobeser. 2 volumes. Leipzig, Ferdinand Hirt & Son, 1881

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ List of members since 1666: letter S. Académie des sciences, accessed on February 29, 2020 (French).