Mungo Park was a Scottish explorer of West Africa. He is renowned to be the first successful explorer of Africa and set a precedent for all who followed in his footsteps. Upon one of his journeys, after being attacked by Native African canoers, Park was forced to jump into the river in an attempt to escape. He never resurfaced and drowned to his death.
To honor Mungo Park, The Mungo Park House was built in 1886 by the Royal Niger Company. It was built by the British who colonized Nigeria at the time. This house was the first headquarters of the Royal Niger Company and Nigeria’s first political headquarters in 1900. This house is recognized as a National Monument. It was originally built for business of Palm Kernal. It also was used by government organizations such as local and Delta State governments Orphanages, Women Development Centre, Water Board and now Monument for keeping relics and artifacts to entertain both foreigners and locals. Nowadays, you can go to this national monument and receive a tour along with visiting the art gallery that is attached to it. Numerous historians will visit this site to get a glimpse of the history of Mungo Park and European influence in Africa.
The house is made from palm wood following in its horizonal and vertical patterns. Recent accounts show that it is not being maintained and is falling apart. Local officials would like to renovate the house, however, they want to keep the original ambience of the house. It serves as a very important local site. It holds fond memories for residents of the 'big heart.' It is reputed to be named after one of the founders of Asaba. It is a commercial beehive that hosts the now rested Asaba textile mills, the Grand Hotel, monuments attesting to the presence of colonial overlords in the pre independence era, and other majestic looking historical buildings. The town of Asaba rallies upon this site as it tells the history of their people and gives the town a sense of purpose.
It is an important site as it, “tells the story of the inter play between Western influences and African culture, including the multiple tales of the numerous conflicts, particularly that of trade and investment in pre-colonial era.” The house represents the dawn of European influence among African nations. It represents the spark of trade between European and African nations along with the European cultures that would be brought upon the African people. This European culture brought to Africa attempted to develop the nation and bring about economic prosperity. On the contrary, the house also symbolizes conflicts such as the exploitation that would later come. Europeans tried to rid of African culture, forcing the European culture upon the Native Africans. In addition, Europeans began to seize control over the African lands to abuse their resources along with cultural & religious influences. Mungo Parks' conquest paved the way for European settlements along the West Coast of Africa. These settlements first came from the Portuguese in which they began the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They took all the goods Africa had to offer and then brought slaves from Africa to the New World. Without Mungo Parks conquest, this would not have been possible. This house signifies the first European exploration of Western Africa and all that would come in the future.