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The 18th century Scottish “explorer” James Bruce, who lived in Ethiopia from 1769 to 1774, was one of the great European travellers to Ethiopia. His famous five-volume work Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile – in which he explains his greatness and proudly quotes his allegedly important conversations with Ethiopian kings, queens and other historic figures – was first published in 1790. It created much controversy – with many readers taking it as Gospel truth, while others believed it to be very largely fictitious. The book was nevertheless almost immediately translated into French and German, and was subsequently reprinted, both in complete and abridged versions.
But how, dear reader, did Ethiopians evaluate their Scottish visitor?

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