Mubarak Bombay, who was born about 1820 in east Africa, played an important role in most of the European exploration of Africa during the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s.
Bombay first served as a soldier with the English explorers Sir Richard Burton and John Nanning Speke on their expedition to find the source of the Nile in 1857. In 1860, Speke hired Bombay again, who arranged the supplies and hired the porters to carry them.
In 1871, Henry Morton Stanley arrived in Africa to search for David Livingstone. Needing help to provision Bombay, who by then had a reputation as an efficient organizer and an effective leader of porters and soldiers.
In 1874, Verney Lovett Cameron sought out Bombay when he organized a caravan to explore Lake Tanganyika in south central Africa. While Cameron lay ill, Bombay explored most of the lake. In recognition of Bombay’s contributions to European exploration, he was awarded a life pension by the Royal Geographical Society in 1876.
Bombay, who was already engaged on another expedition when he heard the news, promptly quit and retired. He died in 1885.