The genre of German travel writing about Sub-Saharan Africa largely consists of the accounts of journeys made by geographers, naturalists and anthropologists, with most of it originating after the mid-nineteenth century. While some German adventurers and mercenaries joined the original Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors during the sixteenth century, and there was a failed attempt to set up a German colony in Venezuela, German travel literature published before the late eighteenth century was rarely based on first-hand accounts and generally involved the translation of travelogues produced in Britain, France or Spain. From the late-eighteenth century, German travellers increasingly joined explorers from other European nations, generally as accompanying scientists. Johann Reinhold Forster, for example, accompanied James Cook on the exploratory voyage of the Resolution between 1772 and 1775. Only a few independent explorers ventured into the “dark” 1 continent before the foundation of the Second German Reich in 1871 prompted a national drive towards colonialist exploitation of the region.