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Jeremy Rich

explorer, the son of Colonel Joseph Burton and Martha Beckwith Burton was born on 19 March 1821 in Torquay, Devon, England. As a military officer in the British Army, Joseph Burton traveled regularly, and his son Richard grew up in France and different Italian states. He showed early in life a tremendous gift for learning languages, and he eventually mastered Arabic to the point he regularly passed for an Arab or Persian or an Indian Muslim. Burton was admitted to Oxford University in 1840, but his wild behavior eventually led to his dismissal in 1842. His taste for adventure led him to join the British colonial army in India, and he first visited Africa en route from England via the Cape of Good Hope to Mumbai (Bombay). From 1842 until 1849, Burton mastered Arabic, Farsi, and Hindustani as he served as a British intelligence officer.

Burton ...

Article

Ari Nave

Sir Richard Burton spoke twenty-five languages and multiple dialects, including Greek, Latin, English, French, Italian, Marathi, Punjab, Arabic, and Hindi. During his travels he observed an enormous range of cultural practices, which he documented in forty-three manuscripts. He also wrote two books of poetry and four volumes of folklore.

Born in Torquay, England, Burton was raised by his English parents primarily in France. He briefly attended Trinity College, Oxford, but was expelled in 1842 for insubordination. He then joined the Bombay army, and served in India (in present-day Pakistan) until 1850. Working as an intelligence officer, Burton learned to impersonate Muslim merchants. His reputation was called into question and his military career cut short, however, when a rival officer spread word that Burton had been investigating homosexual bathhouses in Karachi, failing to divulge that Burton had done so under orders from a senior officer.

After returning to France and ...

Article

Said M. Mohamed

poet, warrior, and political leader, was born in the early nineteenth century at Sasabane, now in the disputed Ogaden region of Ethiopia, the son of a powerful traditional Ugaas (Sultan) of the Ogaden clan. As a boy, besides tending camels, Raage joined a peripatetic Islamic school (xer) and gave evidence of his literary talent by sending his father coded messages in Somali called “hal xidhaale.”

Sometimes called the father of Somali poetry, Raage is said to have been the first poet who composed the opening lines hooyaalayeey hooyalaayey hooyalaaye hooyeey so typical of Somali classical poetry His poetry won the admiration of every Somali and quickly spread throughout Somali speaking territories He composed a wide range of poems poetry of love and lamentation poetry about power and poems of advice The rich imagery sophisticated alliteration and artful use of Somali words were hallmarks of his poems By ...

Article

James McCarthy

Sudanese explorer and slave narrative author, was the son of a prosperous farmer, living in the remote Nuba Mountains in what was then Darfur in Sudan. There, he had prospects of becoming not only a landed proprietor but also a courtier at the court of the renowned Muslim kingdom of Taqali. He himself was betrothed at the age of eight. When he was about nine or ten years old he was captured by Arab slavers and taken to the Cairo slave market, after many adventures and horrifying experiences, being passed from one master to another and crossing the feared Bayuda Desert. In Cairo he was purchased by the British commercial consul in Alexandria, Robert Thurburn, and taken back to the family home at Peterculter, near Aberdeen in Scotland, in 1836. He never saw his family or homeland again.

He was put in charge of Thurburn s brother John formerly ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

explorer and representative of Leopold II of Belgium’s efforts to build a Central African empire, was born with the name John Rowlands on 28 January 1841 in Denbigh, Wales. He came from an impoverished background. His mother, Elizabeth Parry, was nineteen years old and unmarried, and there is some debate over who his father may have been. While Stanley believed his father was an alcoholic named Rowlands, a lawyer named James Vaughan Horne may have actually been his father. In any event, his mother left Henry in the care of his grandfather, but his death in 1846 resulted in the boy’s placement in a workhouse for abandoned children and poor people. He only met his mother in 1850 Extremely bitter about his extended family s unwillingness to treat him as one of their own as well as the physical and psychological abuse he experienced in the workhouse Stanley graduated ...