Person NameKirk; Sir; John (1832-1922); physician, administrator, naturalist and photographer
Epithetphysician, administrator, naturalist and photographer
ActivitySir John Kirk, GCMG, KCB, (1832-1922), physician, administrator, naturalist and photographer, was born at Barry, Forfarshire, in 1832. After qualifying as a doctor in 1854, he volunteered for medical service in the Crimea and subsequently became Dr David Livingstone's chief assistant on his second Zambesi Expedition, 1858-1863. In 1866 Kirk was appointed Medical Officer and Vice-Consul of Zanzibar. He became Assistant Political Agent in 1868, Consul-General in 1873 and Political Agent in 1880. He retired from the consular service in 1887. Kirk's period in Zanzibar coincided with the dramatic decline of the slave trade in East Africa, in which he played a prominent role, and with the extension of European interests in to the interior. Upon his retirement to Sevenoaks he continued, for some years, an active involvement in East Africa. He was British Plenipotentiary at the Brussels Conference on the African Slave Trade, 1889-1890; a director of the Imperial British East Africa Company and chairman of the Government committee for the construction of the Uganda Railway. Moreover, he was frequently asked informally for advice on East African questions. He died in 1922.
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