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Mehmet Emin Pasha (March 28, 1840October 23, 1892) — he was born Isaak Eduard Schnitzer and baptized (c. 1847) Eduard Carl Oscar Theodor Schnitzer — was a physician, naturalist and governor of the Egyptianmarker province of Equatoria on the upper Nile. ("Pasha" was a title conferred on him in 1886 and thereafter he was invariably referred to as "Emin Pasha".)


Eduard Schnitzer aka Emin Pasha

He was born in Opolemarker, Silesia into a middle-class Germanomarker-Jewish family, which moved to Neissemarker when he was two years of age. After the death of his father in 1845 his mother married a Gentile; she and her offspring were baptized Lutherans. He studied at the universities at Breslaumarker, Königsbergmarker, and Berlinmarker, qualifying as a doctor in 1864. However, he was disqualified from practice, and left Germany for Constantinoplemarker, with the intention of entering Ottoman service.

Travelling via Viennamarker and Triestemarker, he stopped at Antivarimarker in Montenegromarker, found himself welcomed by the local community and was soon in medical practice. He put his linguistic talent to good use as well, adding Turkish, Albanian, and Greek to his repertoire of European languages. He became the quarantine officer of the port, leaving only in 1870 to join the staff of Ismail Hakki Pasha, governor of northern Albania, in the service he travelled throughout the Ottoman Empire, although the details are little-known.

When Hakki Pasha died in 1873, Emin went back to Neisse with the pasha's widow and children, where he passed them off as his own family, but left suddenly in September 1875, reappearing in Cairomarker and then departing for Khartoummarker, where he arrived in December. At this point he took the name "Mehemet Emin" (Arabic Muhammad al-Amin), started a medical practice, and began collecting plants, animals, and birds, many of which he sent to museums in Europe. Although some regarded him as a Muslim, it is not clear if he ever actually converted.

Charles George Gordon, then governor of Equatoria, heard of Emin's presence and invited him to be the chief medical officer of the province; Emin assented and arrived there in May 1876. Gordon immediately sent Emin on diplomatic missions to Buganda and Bunyoro to the south, where Emin's modest style and fluency in Luganda were quite popular.

After 1876, Emin made Lado his base for collecting expeditions throughout the region. In 1878, the Khedive of Egyptmarker appointed Emin as Gordon's successor to govern the province, giving him the title of Bey. Despite the grand title, there was little for Emin to do; his military force consisted of a few thousand soldiers who controlled no more than a mile's radius around each of their outposts, and the government in Khartoum was indifferent to his proposals for development.

The revolt of Muhammad Ahmad that began in 1881 had cut Equatoria off from the outside world by 1883, and the following year Karam Allah marched south to capture Equatoria and Emin. In 1885 Emin and most of his forces withdrew further south, to Wadelaimarker near Lake Albert. Cut off from communications to the north, he was still able to exchange mail with Zanzibarmarker through Buganda. Determined to remain in Equatoria, his communiques, carried by his friend Wilhelm Junker, aroused considerable sentiment in Europe in 1886, particularly acute after the death of Gordon the previous year.

The Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, led by Henry Morton Stanley, undertook to rescue Emin by going up the Congo Rivermarker and then through the Ituri Forest, an extraordinarily difficult route that resulted in the loss of two-thirds of the expedition. Precise details of this trek are recorded in the published diaries of the expedition's non-African "officers" (e.g. Major Edmund Musgrave Barttelot, Captain William Grant Stairs, Mr. A.J. Mounteney Jephson, or Thomas Heazle Parke, surgeon of the expedition). Stanley met Emin in April 1888, and after a year spent in argument and indecision, during which Emin and Jephson were imprisoned at Dufile by troops who mutinied from August to November 1888, Emin was convinced to leave for the coast. They arrived in Bagamoyomarker in 1890. During celebrations Emin was injured when he stepped through a window he mistook for an opening to a balcony. Emin spent two months in a hospital recovering while Stanley left without being able to bring him back in triumph.

Emin then entered the service of the German East Africa Company and accompanied Dr. Stuhlmann on an expedition to the lakes in the interior, but was killed by two Arabs, likely slave trader, at Kinene.


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