AN EXPEDITION led by film director Vladimír Dudlák and historian Miroslav Musil is following in the footsteps of famous Slovak adventurer and world traveller Móric Beňovský on the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa. Beňovský arrived in Madagascar in 1773 after King Louis XV of France appointed him governor and charged him with leading a French military and trade mission to the island.
The trek by Dudlák and Musil examined the easternmost point of the island, Cape East, where they say they discovered new information about the location of Beňovský’s royal residence and his gravesite. The residence of Beňovský, who was named a king by the island’s residents in 1776, as well as his grave, had been identified as being elsewhere.
The current expeditionary group has been checking their newly-discovered facts in the national archives of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, as well as travelling to the north-western coast of the island where Beňovský landed during his last return to the island in 1785.
In the town of Ambilobe, the expedition members met a local official who prides himself on owning Beňovský’s sabre, the SITA newswire wrote, as related by Dudlák and Musil.
The group of Slovaks left for Madagascar on April 16 with a plan to focus primarily on less-researched sites connected to the sojourn of Beňovský on the island, as well as on Mauritius.
One of the current expedition’s goals is to enliven the memory of Beňovský and his deeds and the outcome is expected to be a film portrait of this Slovak personality whose exotic global history is not recognised well enough in his native country.
Móric Beňovský was born in Vrbové and achieved many firsts during his lifetime. For example, he is reportedly the first European to sail in the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean, the first man to visit four continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, and America), and also the first Slovak author of a worldwide best-seller, Memoirs and Travels.
In Slovakia, many artistic works are associated with Beňovský, for example the novel The Adventures of Móric Beňovský by Jozef Nižňanský.
3. May 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská