CROATIAN EXPLORER DRAGUTN LERMAN (1863-1918) AND HIS CONTRIBUTION IN THE MAPPING OF CENRAL AFRICA

M. Slukan Altic

Institute of Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia

mirela.altic@zg.htnet.hr

 

Dragutin Lerman is Croatian explorer and cartographer who worked in Congo from 1882 till 1896 as a member of the expedition of famous explorer Henry Morton Stanley. He was particularly prominent in the exploring and mapping of the province of Kwango Orinetal (today southwest DR Congo) where Lerman discovered and mapped complicated hydrographical net with numerous waterfalls (one of them beard his name). He worked along the south Congo borderline so he was also meritorious for the establishing and demarcation of the Congo-Angolan border. During his fieldwork, Lerman kept a diary and made a numerous sketches of this part of Congo, which was in cartographical sense, till then almost completely unknown. His contribution in the mapping of the hydrographical net as well as numerous native settlements, which we can find in his sketches for the very first time, placed Lerman among the most important Stanleys cartographers in the southwestern Congo.

Dragutin Lerman's discoveries completely changed up-to-then acknowledgements about this part of Congo. Cartographical data, which he noted for the first time, will be included in all future official maps of Congo. Based on his merit in exploring and mapping of Congo, Belgian king appointed him as commisaire general of the province Kwango Orinetal as well as awarded him with medals L' Etoile de Service and L'Ordre Royal du Lion. In this paper, Lermans's original sketches will be presented as well as printed maps based on the results of his filed work. We will also valorise his contribution in the mapping of Central Africa.