The New Student's Reference Work/Niger


Ni′ger, the name generally applied to a remarkable river system of western equatorial Africa, emptying into the Gulf of Guinea.  It was thought to be a tributary of the Nile; then of the Kongo; and then supposed to terminate in an inland basin; but the work of Mungo Park and others has settled all but 70 or 80 miles of its length.  The Niger proper is 2,600 miles long, and its drainage basin has an area of 1,023,280 square miles.  The headwaters are in the present states of Samory, near the headwaters of the Senegal; but the Tembi, rising in the Loma Mountains, 3,000 feet above the sea, is the actual source.  From the source to Timbuktu the river has only a few small tributaries, but some distance below here it is joined by the Benuë, or Mother of Waters, traveling 860 miles from the east.  Thence the river flows to its mouth, where a beautiful delta is formed.  The navigation is free, but the trade, chiefly in palm oil, is under the control of Great Britain.  See Joseph Thomson’s Mungo Park and the Niger.