By the late 18th century, the river Niger was to Europeans a 2,000-year-old two-part geographical problem. The first would be solved by Scottish explorer Mungo Park in 1796. But Park’s death in 1806 in failing to solve the second prompted other expeditions which sought to determine the cause of his death and to trace the Niger’s course to its end. Charles Withers examines Park’s achievements, the many expeditions that followed him, and Park’s enduring ‘afterlife’ as an explorer. The remaining part of the Niger problem was solved by exploration in 1830. But years before, it had already been solved by ‘armchair geographers’ who never set foot in Africa.