Quinine is a drug made from the bark of the South American cinchona tree which acts as a prophylactic against malaria.
Africa, especially the western regions, was known as the 'White Man's Grave' because of the danger of two diseases: malaria and yellow fever. During the eighteenth century only one in ten Europeans sent out to the continent by the Royal African Company survived. Six of the ten would have died in their first year. In 1817 two French scientists, Pierre-Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou, extracted quinine from the bark of the South American cinchona tree. It proved to be the solution to malaria; Europeans could now survive the ravages of the disease in Africa.