Johann Ludwig Krapf bigraphy, stories - German missionary and explorer

Johann Ludwig Krapf : biography

11 January 1810 - 26 November 1881

Johann Ludwig Krapf (1810 – 1881) was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer, linguist, and traveler. Krapf played an important role in exploring East Africa with Johannes Rebmann. They were the first Europeans to see Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro. Krapf also played a key role in exploring the East African coastline.

External links and sources

  • Kretzmann, Paul E., at Internet Archive

Category:1810 births Category:1881 deaths Category:People from Tübingen Category:People from the Kingdom of Württemberg Category:German Lutherans Category:Lutheran missionaries Category:German Christian missionaries Category:Translators of the Bible into Swahili Category:Translators of the Bible into Amharic Category:Christian missionaries in Ethiopia Category:Christian missionaries in Kenya Category:Articles lacking sources from May 2007

Sources and further reading

  • Eber, Jochen: Johann Ludwig Krapf: ein schwäbischer Pionier in Ostafrika. 2006
  • Gütl, Clemens. Johann Ludwig Krapf - "Do' Missionar vo' Deradenga" zwischen pietistischem Ideal und afrikanischer Realität (Beiträge zur Missionswissenschaft und interkulturellen Theologie, Bd. 17). Hamburg 2001.
  • Gütl, Clemens. Johann Ludwig Krapf's "Memoir on the East African Slave Trade" - Ein unveröffentlichtes Dokument aus dem Jahr 1853. Mit Einleitung herausgegeben von Clemens Gütl (Beiträge zur Afrikanistik, Bd. 73), Wien 2002.
  • Kretzmann, Paul E. (no date, author 1883-1955) John Ludwig Krapf: The Explorer-Missionary of Northeastern Africa. Columbus, Ohio: The Book Concern.
  • Raupp, Werner: Gelebter Glaube. Metzingen/Württemberg 1993, pp. 278 – 287: "Johann Ludwig Krapf - Bahnbrecher der ostafrikanischen Mission".
  • Raupp, Werner: Johann Ludwig Krapf. Missionar, Forschungsreisender und Sprachforscher (1810-1881). In: Lebensbilder aus Baden-Württemberg, vol. 22. Ed. by Gerhard Taddey and Rainer Brüning, Stuttgart 2007, pp. 182–226.
  • Raupp, Werner: Johann Ludwig Krapf, "dr Missionar vo Deradinga". In: Hin und weg. Tübingen in aller Welt. Hrsg. von Karlheinz Wiegmann. Tübingen 2007 (Tübinger Kataloge, 77), S. (90) - 99.
  • Raupp, Werner: Morgenroth des Reiches Gottes. In: Tübinger Blätter 96 (2010), S. 70 - 73.


In 1836 he was invited by the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) to join their work in Ethiopia. Basel Mission seconded him to the Anglicans and from 1837-1842 he worked in this ancient Christian land. He prepared himself by learning ancient Ge'ez and the Amharic language of the highlands. Landing at Tadjura, Krapf followed the trade route to Shewa where he presented himself to its ruler, Meridazmach Sahle Selassie, and later accompanied the Meridazmach on a military campaign in southern Shewa. Krapf's pietist background did not help him much to understand and appreciate traditional Ethiopian Christianity, especially their emphasis on saints, liturgy and use of Ge'ez, a language no longer spoken. When he departed Shewa in 1842, he found his way to Gondar blocked by the aftermath of the Battle of Debre Tabor, retraced his steps to the court of Adara Bille, a chieftain of the Wollo Oromo who then robbed him. Krapf managed to effect his escape with his servants, and made his way to Massawa supported by the reluctant charity of the local inhabitants.

Thus he centered his interest on the Oromo, in his time known as the Galla, people of southern Ethiopia who then were largely traditional believers. He learned their language and started translating parts of the New Testament into it. While 1842 saw Krapf receive a doctorate from Tübingen University for his research into the Ethiopian languages, it also witnessed the expulsion of all Western missionaries from Ethiopia, which ended his work there. In association with his colleague, Carl Wilhelm Isenberg, he published a memoir of his time in Ethiopia, Journals of Isenberg and Krapf in 1843. He revised Abu Rumi's Bible translations into Amharic for BFBS.The missionary career of Dr. Krapf, missionary of the Church , Church Missionary House - 1882 - 31 pages ES Memorandum of Dr. Krapf 8 Linguistic Labours. In Amharic (the language of Abyssinia), he completely revised for the British and Foreign Bible Society, the version of the whole Bible made in 1810-15, by Abu Rumi, a learned Abyssinian

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