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Charles Chaillé-Long (1842 – 1917) was an American soldier from Maryland, active in East Africa and Egypt.

He fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War, taking part in the battle of Gettysburg. He enlisted as a private, and finished the war with the rank of Captain.

He took a commission as lieutenant-colonel in the Egyptian Army in 1869, arriving in Egypt in 1870. Serving under Charles Gordon in the southern Sudan, he travelled south to present-day Uganda, signing a treaty with Mutesa I of Buganda. In 1874 he was the second western explorer of Lake Victoria[1], and the first to discover Lake Kyoga[2]. While on his return journey, he was attacked by the forces of Bunyoro[3]. Further missions of exploration were to the Azande in 1875, and the Juba River in Somalia in 1876. He wrote a book on his adventures, in extravagant style.[4]

In 1875, he commanded Egyptian forces in the McKillop expedition, to the Indian Ocean coast[2]. He resigned his commission in 1877, returned to the United States, and attended Columbia Law School. Subsequently he was a diplomat in Korea, and writer[5].

His 1884 book, The Three Prophets, took a very negative line on Charles Gordon[6]. His comments were later taken up by revisionist writers, notably Lytton Strachey in Eminent Victorians. Critics have attacked Chaillé-Long for a lack of accuracy as an author[7]. He also wrote, among other works, My Life in Four Continents.

He was awarded the Charles P. Daly Medal by the American Geographical Society in 1909.[8]


  • Central Africa: Naked Truths of Naked People (1876)
  • The Three Prophets (1884)
  • Les Sources du Nil (1891)
  • L'Égypte et ses provinces perdues (1892)
  • La Corée ou Tschösen (1894)
  • My Life in Four Continents (1912)


  1. Saudi Aramco World : The Expeditions of Chaille-Long
  2. 2.0 2.1 Peter Duignan, Lewis H. Gann, The United States and Africa: A History (1984), p. 147.
  3. Andrew James McGregor, A Military History of Modern Egypt: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Ramadan War (2006), p. 142.
  4. Saudi Aramco World : The Khedive's Cartographers
  5. Columbia Law : Columbians in the Military
  6. Lysle E. Meyer, The Farther Frontier: Six Case Studies of Americans and Africa, 1848-1936 (1992), p. 98 and p. 100.
  7. George Kitson Clark, The Critical Historian (1964), p. 123.
  8. "American Geographical Society Honorary Fellowships". Retrieved 2009-03-02. 

External links[]

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