Dixon Denham, an English traveller, born in London, Jan. 1, 1786, died in Free Town, Sierra Leone, June 9, 1828. He entered the British army in 1811, and served with credit through the Peninsular war and in all the subsequent campaigns against Napoleon. In 1815 he travelled through France and Italy, and on returning to England devoted himself to military studies. In 1821 he joined the government expedition to Africa, under Oudney and Clapperton, with the rank of major. Setting out from Tripoli, the expedition arrived at Moor-zook, in Fezzan, April 8, 1822. Here its progress was stopped by the refusal of the sultan of Fezzan to furnish an escort across the desert. After considerable trouble Denham started for England to lay the matter before the government, but was recalled from Marseilles, where he was detained in quarantine, the expedition having received an escort and permission to proceed, mainly in consequence of his activity and firmness. They crossed the desert to Lake Tchad, which they reached in February, 1823. Leaving his companions at Kuka to recruit their health, Denham explored the region around the lake, and afterward joined an expedition of the Arab escort against the natives to the southward.
In a disastrous fight Denham was wounded and separated from the company, and found his way back to Kuka through great perils and suffering. He afterward continued his explorations of the interior, and returned to England with Clapperton in 1825. In 1826 he published in London his "Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824." In the same year he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and appointed superintendent of the liberated African department of Sierra Leone, and in 1828 governor of the colony.