Alexandre de Serpa Pinto

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


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

Moved to the Portuguese colony of Mozambique, he made several short trips there and was appointed chief of an armed colonial expedition of Portugal as a Major in 1877. From Benguela he went on Quillengues and Ngola after Bihe. He separated from his companions Capello and Ivens, which pushed northward, moved along the Cubango and explored the upper tributaries of the Zambezi.

Here he wants to have a "white man tribe", the Cassequere discovered. From Cuando of it reached Lialui on the left bank of the Zambezi River, where he repulsed an attack by the Marutse Mambunda, but all his carrier lost by desertion.

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

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

In 1885 he undertook with Cardozo, an officer of the Portuguese Navy, an English photographer, 250 carriers and an escort of 800 armed natives from Inhambane a new expedition to explore the area to the west of Njassasees and south of the Bangweulusees to Loangwe.

However, an illness forced him to hand over the leadership to Cardozo. The expedition was plagued by other misfortunes, but was determined by them a travel route to Ibo and further inland to Blantyre and back to the mouth of the Zambezi by triangulation. 1886 Pinto returned back to Portugal.

1889 Pinto took a new expedition to the Shire and subdued the Makololo country of Portuguese rule, even though he knew that this had recently been placed under English protectorate. An ultimatum to the British Government on January 11, 1890 forced the Portuguese to withdraw from the conquered territory. In April 1890 Serpa Pinto returned to Lisbon.

Serpa Pinto died on 28 December 1900 in Lisbon.