(1858–1895), British naturalist and geologist who explored Africa's Great Rift Valley. Joseph Thomson was one of a second generation of East Africa's explorers who filled gaps left by Richard F. Burton, John Hanning Speke, David Livingstone, and Henry Stanley. He was second generation, too, inasmuch as he got caught up in imperialist ventures with which he was not really happy—unlike Stanley, whom he disliked and disagreed with about Africa's economic potential. He was also unlike Stanley in that he believed “a gentle word is more potent than gunpowder” and never in fact shed blood during his various African journeys.
From The Oxford Companion to World Exploration in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: World History.