Alexander Gordon Laing

Alexander Gordon Laing (* December 27, 1793 in Edinburgh, † September 26, 1826 in Araouane, Mali ), was a British explorer.


Laing was the son of a school principal and Major in the 2nd West Indian Regiment and geographer. He married on July 16, 1825, two days before the departure to his African expedition, Emma Warrington, daughter of the British consul of Tripoli.

Laing explored 1822/23 Sierra Leone. On August 13, 1826, he reached Tripoli Coming Timbuktu. He was the first European who proved entered the fabled trading city. In the city he enjoyed the protection of the spiritual leader of the Kunta - Moors, but on the way back to Morocco he was assassinated on September 26, 1826 in Arouane, which was really never clarified whether it is only the act of fanatical Muslims or simply negotiated an act of highway robbery.

Laing's papers were long gone. Only letters that proved its presence in Timbuktu, arrived in Tripoli. When three years later, the Frenchman René Caillié claimed he was disguised as an Arab pilgrims who have been in Timbuktu, and published an extensive travelogue, he was accused by the British side, he had never set foot in Timbuktu. Until the 20th century it was assumed repeatedly Caillié had brought with the help of the French consul in Moroccan Mogador in Tripoli or in the possession of the documents and they cannibalized for his book.