Cart empty
My Cart

19th March, 1821 Richard Francis Burton was born

Francis BurtonOn the 19th of March, 1821 British traveler Richard Francis Burton was born. Among his outstanding achievements is the expedition with John Speke in the East Africa in search of the origins of the Nile River, a trip to Mecca, the discovery of Lake Tanganyika.

However, traveling was not the only hobby of Burton. On top of that he was a translator, poet, ethnographer, linguist, swordsman. This man has become famous due to the study and mapping of Africa and Asia, knowledge of different cultures and languages. According to some reports, Burton knew 29 languages of different language families. He translated into English the Kama Sutra and tales "Thousand and One Nights", has written numerous articles on the geography and ethnography, describing his expedition and land maps.

As a child, Burton often changed his place of residence, his parents constantly moved, travel routes ran between England, Italy, France. Perhaps this circumstance contributed to the formation of a nomadic attitude of the young Richard.

For misconduct Burton was expelled from Oxford University, and he decided to take part in the first Anglo-Sikh war, enrolling in the army of the East India Company. In June 1842 Burton went to Bombay, but the war ended before he was in India.

While in India, most of his time he spent on the study of Richard the local culture and languages. He knew the following languages: Marathi, Hindi, Persian, Arabic and Gujarati. On the market in Bombay he bought the rare manuscripts, works of which he memorized. He even had a litter of hand monkeys, hoping in the future to understand their language. 7 years of life in India Burton thoroughly studied the customs and behavior of Muslims.

Burton was the first European (not a Muslim), who managed to make the Hajj. His pilgrimage was well documented. In 1855 he wrote the book "Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca."

Contemporaries had ambivalent attitude to Burton: some praised him as a hero, others believed him to be an unprincipled adventurer.

Burton died in 1890 at the age of 69. After his death the widow burned all the diaries, which the traveler led all his life.

This Day in History 19-03-2013