"a mighty big river, that you could see on the map"
Congo River (1888)
Public DomainCongo River (1888) - Credit: Alexandre Delcommune
Map of Congo River and Basin (1877)
Public DomainStanley's map of the Congo River and Basin (1877) - Credit: H. M. Stanley

The 'mighty big river' is the Congo River (see Setting).

On 9 August 1877, the celebrated explorer Henry Morton Stanley became the first white man to trace the course of the Congo River to the sea, solving one of the last great mysteries of African exploration. Within two years the explorer would return to the Congo, this time in the employ of King Leopold II of Belgium, to lay the foundations for what would become the Congo Free State.