Memoirs and Travels of Mauritius Augustus Count de Benyowsky: Consisting of His Military Operations in Poland, His Exile into Kamchatka, His Escape and Voyage from that Peninsula through the Northern Pacific Ocean, Touching at Japan and Formosa, to Canton in China, with an Account of the French Settlement He Was Appointed to Form upon the Island of Madagascar


Maurice Benyowsky (1741 or 1746-1786) was born near Trnava in present-day Slovakia, at the time part of Hungary and the Austrian Empire. After service in the Austrian Army, he joined a Polish nationalist movement fighting for freedom against Russia. He was arrested and exiled to Kamchatka in the Russian Far East. He escaped captivity and undertook an expedition to explore Kamchatka and the North Pacific. In 1772, he made his way to France, where he secured permission from King Louis XV to establish trading posts on Madagascar. In Paris, he became a close friend of Benjamin Franklin, with whom he founded an American-British company for trade with Madagascar. In addition to building roads and exploring the island, Benyowsky unified the tribes and was elected ampansacabé (emperor) by the local kings. He died as Emperor of Madagascar in 1786, in an armed clash with French authorities in a settlement called Mauretania. Benyowsky’s two-volume Memoirs and Travels is a remarkable literary work that tells of his many adventures and almost unbelievable achievements, some of which were exaggerations and even inventions. Probably written between 1780 and 1784 and first published in 1790, over the next quarter of a century these memoirs appeared in at least 20 editions, in many languages.

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P. Wogan, Dublin, Ireland


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Memoirs and travels of Mauritius Augustus, count de Benyowsky ... consisting of his military operations in Poland, his exilie into Kamchatka, his escape and voyage from that peninsula through the northern Pacific ocean

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2 volumes ; 22 centimeters

Last updated: August 26, 2016