James Bruce

1730 - 1794

James Bruce
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

James Bruce

Early Explorer. Born in Stirlingshire, Bruce grew to be a huge man, both in height and weight. Educated at Harrow School, north of London, he then studied Law at the University of Edinburgh.

He travelled in Europe and was then appointed Consul in Algiers (1762). He then travelled to Ethiopia, where he discovered the source of the Blue Nile (1770). Bruce was congratulated by the French, but especially after Boswell and Johnson set against him, the British did not believe him. Although his adventures were largely true, they seemed so unbelievable that he was accused of invention. He also translated sections of the bible for the Ethiopian Church.

He lived in Kinnaird House on his return from Africa and died there having fallen down stairs. He lies buried in Larbert Old churchyard.

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