1871: Birth of Mirko Seljan – Croatian Explorer of Africa and South America

1871: Birth of Mirko Seljan – Croatian Explorer of Africa and South America

Mirko and his brother Stjepan spent a long time in Ethiopia, where they were decorated by Emperor Menelik II. They founded a settlement named Seljanville.

Mirko Seljan, a Croat who together with his brother Stjepan made several voyages of exploration to Africa and South America, was born on this day in 1871. Mirko was the older brother by around four years, and both were born in the city of Karlovac, Croatia.

At the age of 26, Mirko undertook an interesting journey on foot from St. Petersburg to Paris. He later wrote: “I arrived in Paris in 100 days, breaking all records, and can rightly call myself “Champion of Globe Trotter”. In Paris we were received exceptionally well by the local Slavs, especially the Russians and the Czechs. I will set forth to London in June, and then back to Bordeaux, across Switzerland, over Cisleithania to Croatia. The motive and reason of my journey was only my good will. There was no bets involved or wish for material gain, merely the wish to bring honor to the Croatian name.”

In 1899 the brothers set forth on their planned journey around the world. They spent a long time in Africa, especially Ethiopia, where they were allegedly decorated by Emperor Menelik II, and became the governors of some territories in the south of the country. There they founded a settlement called Seljanville.

They returned to their homeland in 1902, but already the next year they set off for South America. They journeyed to the interior of the continent. Next, they crossed the Andes from Argentina and arrived in Chile. Afterwards they went their separate ways. Mirko disappeared in 1913 during an expedition to Peru, at the age of 44. Stjepan lived to 1936, dying in Ouro Preto, Brazil.

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