The Unsung Hero “Bwana Malta”


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Antonio Martini, born 1857 in Porto Nuovo (Marsa), as a child of Malta who grew up to be a man of great credit to the land of his birth.

Never having learned to read or write, he never-the-less became a man of renown. He was selected to become the partner to the Scottish explorer, Joseph Thomson, as recounted in his book “Through Maasai Land”.

After being shipwrecked off Zanzibar, he was appointed as second-in-command of the Sultan of Zanzibar’s Army.

He was a member of the original team of builders of the ‘Lunatic Express’, the railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria.

Widely known as the “The illiterate Maltese”, he later became a collector of taxes and then a District Commissioner in what is now Kenya and Uganda in East Africa.

During the First World War he served as an intelligence officer in the British Army.

How is it that he is unheard in his native land?

Probably because after the shipwreck, he was handed over to the missionaries in Mombasa, who changed his name from Antonio Martini to James Martin, the name he was known by, until his death in Portugal in 1924.

Additional information

Weight 168.0000 g
Dimensions 21 × 14.8 cm
Pages 111
ISBN 9990903115
Year of publication

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