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was a Scottish physician and African explorer.
In 1817 he received his medical doctorate at Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...
. A few years afterwards he was appointed by the British government as consul for promotion of trade to the Kingdom of Bornu
The Bornu Empire was an African state of Nigeria from 1396 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty...
in sub-Saharan Africa. In early-1822 he departed from Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...
with explorers Dixon Denham
Dixon Denham was an English explorer in West Central Africa.Denham was born in London. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, and was articled to a solicitor, but joined the army in 1811...
(1786–1828) and Hugh Clapperton
Hugh Clapperton was a Scottish traveller and explorer of West and Central Africa.He was born in Annan, Dumfriesshire, where his father was a surgeon. He gained some knowledge of practical mathematics and navigation, and at thirteen was apprenticed on board a vessel which traded between Liverpool...
(1788–1827), reaching Bornu in February-1823, and thus becoming the first Europeans to accomplish a north-south crossing of the Sahara Desert.
Stricken by illness, Oudney died in January-1824 in the village of Murmur, located near the town of Katagum
Katagum is a town, a local government area and a traditional emirate in Bauchi State of northern Nigeria. The town is located on the northern bank of the Jama'are River, which is a tributary of the Hadejia. Most of the inhabitants are Muslim, along with people from the Fulani, Kanuri, Hausa,...
. On the journey he collected regional plants, and after his death Scottish botanist Robert Brown
Robert Brown was a Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist who made important contributions to botany largely through his pioneering use of the microscope...
(1773–1858) named the botanical genus Oudneya
from the family Brassicaceae
Brassicaceae, a medium sized and economically important family of flowering plants , are informally known as the mustards, mustard flowers, the crucifers or the cabbage family....
in his honor.
In 1826 the two-volume "Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824" was published, describing the African exploits of Oudney, Denham and Clapperton.