Niger, a river of West Equatorial Africa, whose name first appears in Ptolemy, and may be derived from a native root gir or jur. The problem as to its course remained almost till the 19th century one of the most perplexed in the whole range of geography - it was an affluent of the Nile ; an affluent of the Congo; an independent river terminating in an inland basin; and so on. It was left to Mungo Park and other workers in the service of the African Association (1788) to lay the basis of our present knowledge. The Niger proper (Joliba, Isa, Quorra, etc.) has a total length of 2600 miles, and the area of the entire basin (including that of the Benue) is estimated at 1,023,280 sq. m. The head-waters are situated in the Samory region, inland from Sierra Leone and Liberia, and are contiguous to the sources of the Senegal. The Tembi and its sister streams soon gather into a good navigable river, which holds a north-easterly course as far as Timbuctoo (q.v.), 2 miles from the river. Beyond this, split into channels, it holds a more easterly direction for 200 miles, and then with its now united forces turns south-east to cut its way through a rocky tract of country, and to pass in succession Say; Bussa, where Park came to his untimely end ; Rabba, one of the largest cities on its course ; and Egga, where the river turns more to the south. Having received in the Benue a rival in volume, the united river traverses a series of bold, picturesque hills by a narrow gorge, and begins to break up into one of the most remarkable mangrove-covered deltas in the world. The upper and middle basin of the Niger is under French authority; the lower basin constitutes (British) Nigeria.