The legacy of Charles John Andersson (born 1827 in Värmland, Sweden – died 1867 in Portuguese Angola) is remarkable but neither well known nor popularised. The dark side of the story is that Charles John Andersson like most of the early European explorers in Africa during this time, paved the way for the ‘Scramble for Africa’ which was the occupation, division, and colonisation of African territory by European powers during the period of the New Imperialism between 1881 and 1914. During his short lifetime he felt that he had accomplished very little but in fact his accomplishments were numerous and of great historical value:
In 2011 the Swedish King officially declared the sensational news that Charles Johan Andersson was the first European to report the existence of the waterfalls that came to be known as the ‘Victoria Falls’, three years before Dr Livingstone. This fact is proven by the map Charles John Andersson sent from Cape Town to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The map, intriguingly, was made in 1852. Dr. Livingstone visited the falls for the first time in 1855.
Charles John Andersson wrote three classic books, “Lake Ngami”, “The River Okavango” and “Notes on the birds of Damara land and the adjacent countries of the South West Africa”.
He is credited with the naming of the Okavango River in Botswana, having misheard or misunderstood its correct pronunciation by the Ovambo people. The iconic Okavango Delta was listed as the 1000th World Heritage Site in 2014.
He is remembered in history as the first person to map the southwestern regions of Africa and for introducing the British and Swedish to this area of the continent, previously unknown.
He established a big trading station at Otjimbingwe, in todays Namibia which was, during the German occupation, the capitol of South West Africa.
Charles John Andersson was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Lund and posthumously honoured by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. A street in Windhoek is named after him and the also a fish, perhaps a perch, the Oreochromis andersonii.
But who was he really? In this blog we present exclusive interviews from Sweden, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa with historians, museum directors, his descendants and others.
The illustrations from Charles John Andersson´s and his father Llewellyn Lloyd’s books are also presented on this website. You will also find new photos and exclusive video interviews of places and people connected to Charles John Andersson.
So please WELCOME to the blog about Charles John Andersson made by artist Ann Gollifer and journalist Mats Ögren Wanger.