The "King Solomon" of the book's title is the Biblical king renowned both for his wisdom and for his wealth. A number of sites have been suggested as the location of his mines, including the workings at the Timna valley near Eilat. Research published in September 2013 has shown that this site was in use during the 10th century BC as a copper mine possibly by the Edomites, who the Bible reports were rivals of and frequently at war with King Solomon.
Haggard knew Africa well, having travelled deep within the continent as a 19-year-old during the Anglo-Zulu War and the First Boer War, where he had been impressed by South Africa's vast mineral wealth and by the ruins of ancient lost cities being uncovered, such as Great Zimbabwe. His original Allan Quatermain character was based in large part on Frederick Courtney Selous, the famous British white hunter and explorer of Colonial Africa. Selous's real-life experiences provided Haggard with the background and inspiration for this and many later stories.
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About the Author
Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was an English author of adventure novels set in exotic locales, predominantly Africa. King Solomon’s Mines, one of his best-known books, details the life of the explorer Allan Quartermain. She: A History of Adventure followed, introducing the character Ayesha. While much of Haggard’s reputation stems from those two books and their subsequent series, he also wrote nonfiction and short stories.