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Encyclopedia > King Solomon's Mines
King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon's Mines, 1st edition, 3rd printing, 1885.
Author H. Rider Haggard
Country England
Language English
Series Allan Quatermain Series
Genre(s) Lost World
Publisher Cassell & Company
Publication date 1885
Media type Print
Pages 320 pp
Followed by Allan Quatermain

King Solomon's Mines (1885) is a popular novel by the Victorian adventure writer and fabulist, Sir H. Rider Haggard. It tells of a quest into an unexplored region of Africa by a group of adventurers led by Allan Quatermain in search of the missing brother of one of the party. It is significant as the first English fictional adventure novel set in Africa, and is considered the genesis of the Lost World literary genre. Image File history File links Kingsol. ... H. Rider Haggard, author Sir Henry Rider Haggard (June 22, 1856 – May 14, 1925), born in Norfolk, England, was a Victorian writer of adventure novels set in locations considered exotic by readers in his native England. ... For other uses, see Country (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Sir Henry Rider Haggard KBE (June 22, 1856 – May 14, 1925), born in Norfolk, England, was a Victorian writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations. ... The Lost World literary genre is a fantasy or science fiction genre that involves the discovery of a new world out of time, place, or both. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... John Cassell (23 January 1817 - 2 April 1865) was a British publisher and businessperson who published magazines aimed at the middle class. ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the literary concept. ... The Victorian era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British Industrial Revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... In its strict sense a fable is a short story or folk tale embodying a moral, which may be expressed explicitly at the end as a maxim. ... H. Rider Haggard, author Sir Henry Rider Haggard (June 22, 1856 – May 14, 1925), born in Norfolk, England, was a Victorian writer of adventure novels set in locations considered exotic by readers in his native England. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Allan Quatermain is a fictional character, the protagonist of H. Rider Haggards King Solomons Mines and its various sequels and prequels. ... The Lost World literary genre is a fantasy or science fiction genre that involves the discovery of a new world out of time, place, or both. ...



The book was first published in September 1885 amid considerable fanfare, with billboards and posters around London announcing "The Most Amazing Book Ever Written". It became an immediate best seller. By the late 19th century explorers were uncovering lost civilizations around the world, such as Egypt's Valley of the Kings, and the empire of Assyria. Africa remained largely unexplored and King Solomon's Mines, the first novel of African adventure published in English, captured the public's imagination. Location of the valley in the Theban Hills, West of the Nile, October 1988 (red arrow shows location) The Valley of the Kings (Arabic: وادي الملوك Wadi Biban el-Muluk; Gates of the King)[1] is a valley in Egypt where for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to... For other uses, see Assyria (disambiguation). ...

The "King Solomon" of the book's title is the Biblical king renowned both for his wisdom and for his wealth. A number of sites have been identified as the location of the mines of Solomon, including the workings at Timna near Eilat, and many "fictional" locations. This article is about the Biblical figure. ... For other uses, see Bible (disambiguation). ... Hebrew אילת Founded in 1951 Government City (from 1959) District South Population 55,000 (2006) Jurisdiction 80,000 dunams (80 km²) Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi North Beach, Eilat, from southwest. ...

Haggard knew Africa well, having penetrated deep within the continent as a 19-year-old during the Anglo-Zulu War and the First Boer War, where he had been impressed by South Africa's vast mineral wealth and the ruins of ancient lost civilizations being uncovered such as Great Zimbabwe. His original Allan Quatermain character was based in large part on the real-life adventures of Frederick Courtney Selous, the famous British big game hunter and explorer of Colonial Africa.[1][2] These experiences provided Haggard's background and inspiration for this and many later stories. Combatants United Kingdom Zulu Nation Commanders Sir Bartle Frere, Frederick Augustus Thesiger, 2nd Baron Chelmsford Cetshwayo Strength 14,800 (6,400 Europeans 8,400 Natal Troops) 40,000 Casualties 1,727 killed, 256 wounded 8,250+ killed, 3,000+ wounded The Anglo-Zulu War was fought in 1879 between the... Combatants United Kingdom Transvaal Commanders Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley Commandant-General Piet Joubert Strength 1,200 3,000 Casualties 408 killed, 315 wounded 41 killed, 47 wounded The First Boer War (Dutch: Eerste Boerenoorlog, Afrikaans: Eerste Vryheidsoorlog, literally First Freedom War) also known as the First Anglo-Boer... Great Zimbabwe is the name given to the remains of stone, sometimes referred to as the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, of an ancient Southern African city, located at in present-day Zimbabwe which was once the centre of a vast empire known as the Munhumutapa Empire (also called Monomotapa or Mwene... Frederick Courteney Selous (or Courtney) (31 December 1851 - 4 January 1917) was a British explorer, hunter, and conservationist famous for his exploits in Southern Africa. ... Cecil Rhodes: Cape-Cairo railway project. ...

Plot summary

Allan Quatermain, an English adventurer and hunter based in Durban, South Africa, is approached by an English aristocrat, Sir Henry Curtis, and his friend Captain Good, seeking his help finding Sir Henry's brother, who was last seen traveling north into the unexplored interior, on a quest for the fabled King Solomon's Mines. Quatermain possesses a mysterious map purporting to lead to the mines, but had never taken it seriously. However, he agrees to lead an expedition in return for part of the treasure, or a stipend for his son if he is killed along the way. He has little hope they will return alive. They also bring along a mysterious native, Umbopa, who seems more regal, handsome and well spoken than most porters of his class, but who is very anxious to join the party. For other uses, see Durban (disambiguation). ...

Traveling by oxcart, they reach the edge of a desert, but not before a hunt in which a wounded elephant claims the life of a servant. Quatermain's map shows an oasis halfway across, and they continue on foot, almost dying of thirst before finding the oasis. Reaching a mountain range called "Sheba's Breasts", they climb to the top and enter a cave where they find the frozen corpse of José Silvestre, the 16th century Portuguese explorer who drew the map in his own blood. That night, a second servant dies from the cold, so they leave his body next to Silvestre's, to "give him a companion". Sheba (from the English transcription of the Hebrew name shva and Saba, Arabic: سبأ, also Saba, Amharic: ሳባ, Tigrinya: ሳባ) was a southern kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament) and the Quran. ...

An unusual cover illustration for King Solomon's Mines, showing Foulata dying in Captain Good's arms

They cross the mountains into a raised valley, lush and green, known as Kukuanaland, the inhabitants of which have a well organized army and society and speak an ancient dialect of IsiZulu. Kukuanaland's capital is Loo, the destination of a magnificent road from ancient times. The city is dominated by a central Royal Kraal. Image File history File links King_solomons_mines. ... Image File history File links King_solomons_mines. ... Zulu, also known as isiZulu, is a language of the Zulu people with about 9 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ...

They soon meet a party of Kukuana warriors who are on the point of killing them when Captain Good nervously fidgets with his false teeth, making the Kukuanas recoil in fear. Thereafter, to protect themselves, they style themselves "white men from the stars" - i.e., sorcerer-gods - and are required to give regular proofs of their divinity, considerably straining both their nerves and their ingenuity.

They are brought before King Twala, who rules over his people with ruthless violence. He came to power years before when he murdered his brother, the previous king, and drove his brother's wife and infant son, Ignosi, out into the desert to die. Twala's rule is unchallenged and an evil, impossibly ancient hag named Gagool is his chief advisor. She roots out any potential opposition by ordering regular witch hunts and murdering without trial all those identified as traitors. When she singles out Umbopa for this fate, it takes all Quatermain's skill to save his life.

Gagool, it appears, has already sensed what Umbopa soon after reveals; he is Ignosi, and as the son of Twala's murdered brother, he is rightful king of the Kukuanas. A rebellion breaks out. The Englishmen join Ignosi's army in a furious battle. Although outnumbered, the rebels overthrow Twala, and Sir Henry lops off his head in a duel.

The Englishmen also capture Gagool, who reluctantly leads them to King Solomon's Mines. She shows them a treasure room inside a mountain, carved deep within the living rock and full of gold, diamonds and ivory. She then treacherously sneaks out while they are admiring the hoard and triggers a secret mechanism that closes the mine's vast stone door. Unfortunately for Gagool, a brief scuffle with a beautiful native named Foulata causes her to be crushed under the stone door, though not before fatally stabbing Foulata. Their scant store of food and water rapidly dwindling, the trapped men prepare to die also. After a few despairing days sealed in the dark chamber, they find an escape route, bringing with them a few pocketfuls of diamonds from the immense trove, enough to make them rich.

The Englishmen bid farewell to a sorrowful Ignosi and return to the desert. Taking a different route, they find Sir Henry's brother stranded in an oasis by a broken leg, unable to go forward or back. They return to Durban and eventually to England, wealthy enough to live comfortable lives.

Literary significance and criticism

Haggard wrote the novel as a result of a one pound wager with his brother, namely that he could not write a novel half as good as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883).[3] He wrote it in a short time, somewhere between four[4] and sixteen[5] weeks between January 1885 and the 21st of April. However, because the book was a complete novelty, it was rejected by one publisher after another. When, after six months, King Solomon's Mines finally found a publisher, the book became the year's best seller; the only problem (much to the chagrin of those who had rejected the manuscript) was how to print the book fast enough.[3] In the process King Solomon's Mines created a new genre, known as the "Lost World", which would inspire Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land That Time Forgot, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King[6] and HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. A much later Lost World novel was Michael Crichton's Congo, which involves a quest for King Solomon's lost mines, fabled to be in a lost African city called Zinj. Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson (November 13, 1850–December 3, 1894), was a Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer, and a representative of neo-romanticism in English literature. ... For other uses, see Treasure Island (disambiguation). ... The Lost World literary genre is a fantasy or science fiction genre that involves the discovery of a new world out of time, place, or both. ... Edgar Rice Burroughs Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan, although he also produced works in many genres. ... Cover art for first combined edition of The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs, McClurg, 1924 The Land That Time Forgot is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the first of his Caspak trilogy. ... Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British author most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered a major innovation in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. ... The Lost World is a 1912 novel by Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau (native name is Tepuyes) in South America (Venezuela) where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. ... This article is about the British author. ... For other uses, see The Man Who Would Be King (disambiguation). ... H. P. Lovecraft Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890–March 15, 1937) was an American author of fantasy and horror fiction, noted for giving horror stories a science fiction framework. ... For the Simpsons episode, see Mountain of Madness. ... Michael Crichton, pronounced [1], (born October 23, 1942) is an American author, film producer, film director, and television producer. ... Zinj can have the following meanings: The nickname for the hominid Paranthropus boisei The city of Az Zinj in Bahrain The Arab word for the East African coast, meaning black A fictional lost city located in the Virunga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, starring in the novel...

As in Treasure Island, the narrator of King Solomon's Mines tells his tale in the first person, and in an easy conversational style. Almost entirely missing (except in the speech of the Kukuanas) is the ornate language usually associated with novels of this era. Haggard's use of the first person subjective perspective also contrasts with the omniscient third-person viewpoint then in vogue among influential writers such as Trollope, Hardy, and Eliot. With its central "quest" motif and its richly mythopoeic imagery, the book has also provided abundant material for psychologists, notably Jung and Freud.[7] Anthony Trollope (April 24, 1815 – December 6, 1882) became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. ... Thomas Hardy redirects here. ... Mary Ann (Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist. ... This article is about the word, for other meanings see Quest (disambiguation) A quest is a journey towards a goal with great meaning and is used in mythology and literature as a plot device. ... Mythopoeic literature is literature that involves the making of myths. ... Jung redirects here. ... Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ...

The book has scholarly value for the colonialist attitudes Haggard expresses,[8] and for the way he portrays the relationships among the White and African characters. While Haggard does indeed present some Africans in their traditional (for Victorian literature) literary posts as barbarians (such as Twala and Gagool) Haggard also presents the other side of the coin, showing some black Africans as heroes and heroines (such as Ignosi), and shows respect for their culture. Although the book is certainly not devoid of racism, it expresses much less prejudice than some of the later books in this genre. Indeed, Quatermain states that he refuses to use the word "nigger" to refer to black Africans, and states that many Africans are more worthy of the title of "gentleman" than the Europeans who settle or adventure in the country. Haggard even includes an interracial romance between a Kukuana woman, Foulata, and a white Englishmen, Captain Good. The narrator tries to discourage the relationship, dreading the uproar such a marriage would cause back home in England; however, he has no objection to the lady, whom he considers very beautiful and noble. Haggard soon "kills off" Foulata, but has her die in Good's arms. It has been suggested that Benign colonialism be merged into this article or section. ... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Ethnocracy Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial quota...

Kukuanaland is said in the book to be forty leagues north of the Lukanga river in modern Zambia which would place it in the extreme south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The culture of the Kukuanas shares many attributes with other South African tribes, such as IsiZulu being spoken, and the Kraal system. For other uses, see league. ... Kafue River, Chamufumbu, near Lubungu Pontoon, Zambia The Kafue River, a major tributary of the Zambezi, rises on the border between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and flows south westerly through the Lukanga Swamp which it drains. ... The Democratic Republic of the Congo, called Zaïre between 1971 and 1997, is a nation in central Africa. ... Look up South Africa on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Government South Africa Government Online official government site Parliament of South Africa official site Statistics South Africa official government site News AllAfrica. ... Zulu, also known as isiZulu, is a language of the Zulu people with about 9 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... A South African cattle kraal (Photo by Richard Jones) Kraal (also spelt craal or kraul) is an Afrikaans and South African English word for an enclosure for cattle or other livestock, located within an African homestead or village surrounded by a palisade, mud wall, or other fencing, roughly circular in...

The novel has been adapted to film at least six times. It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ...


  1. ^ Mandiringana, E.; T. J. Stapleton (1998). "The Literary Legacy of Frederick Courteney Selous". History in Africa 25: 199-218. doi:10.2307/3172188. 
  2. ^ Pearson, Edmund Lester. Theodore Roosevelt, Chapter XI: The Lion Hunter (HTML) (English). Humanities Web. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
  3. ^ a b Gerald Monsmon (ed.), King Solomon's Mines, Broadview Press, 2002. ISBN 1551114399. Page 11.
  4. ^ Henry Rider Haggard URL accessed December 29, 2006.
  5. ^ Dennis Butts, 'Introduction' in King Solomon's Mines ed. by Dennis Butts (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pages vii-xviii, p. vii
  6. ^ Robert E. Morsberger, "Afterword" in King Solomon's Mines Reader's Digest edition 1994. ISBN 0895775530
  7. ^ Norman Etheridge. Rider Haggard. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984, pp. 39-44 and 51-54
  8. ^ Etheridge, ibid., pp. 91-106

Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
King Solomon's Mines
  • King Solomon's Mines, available at Project Gutenberg.
  • An Analysis of Colonial Themes in King Solomon's Mines

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ...


  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 137. 
Everett Franklin Bleiler (born 1920) is an editor and bibliographer of science fiction and Fantasy. ...

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