|Birth: ||Mar. 19, 1821|
|Death: ||Oct. 19, 1890|
Explorer, British consul, translator. Born at Barham House, near Elstree, Hertfordshire, the son of a colonel in Her Majestyís Army, Burton was raised largely in France and Italy. He displayed an affinity for languages that allowed him to be fluent in four languages and two dialects before he was twenty. Burton attended Oxford but was expelled for attending horse races in 1842. Burton then joined the army of the East India Company. In the course of his travels he mastered Arabic, Hindi and became proficient in many Indian dialects. Burton would eventually learn 25 languages and 15 dialects in his lifetime. Burton was assigned as an intelligence officer in undercover work in the souks and bazaars. There he perfected his ability with disguises as well as his facility with languages. He was ordered to investigate all male brothels in Karachi and he reported that many catered to British officers. The report was covered up and Burtonís career with the company ruined. Ill with cholera, he left India and returned home where he wrote four books on India. He next disguised himself as a Muslim pilgrim and entered the holy city of Mecca, and the forbidden Muslim city of Harar. All non-believers who had entered these cities before Burton had been executed. Burton became the first European to both enter and leave to write about it. In 1854, Burton went again to eastern Africa with John Speke in order to find the source of the Nile. Their party was attacked by Somali and both were seriously injured. Burton's face was pierced by a spear from cheek to cheek.
On a second expedition in Africa with Speke in 1858 they discovered Lake Tanganyika. In 1860 Burton traveled to Utah to meet Brigham Young and write about the Morman practice of polygamy. In January 1861, he secretly married Isabel Arundell of a Catholic aristocratic family. Burton next joined the Foreign Office, which appointed him consul to an island off the coast of West Africa. a posting that gave him fodder for an additional five books. He was then posted to Santos, Brazil, an assignment he hated passionately. He was finally reprieved by a posting to Damascus. He was unfortunately undermined there both by local intrigues and his wifeís proselytizing and he was dismissed in 1871. In 1872 Burton was posted to Trieste where he continued writing, covering subjects from Iceland to Ghana and translating literature. He became infamous in his lifetime for his translation and publication of the Kama Sutra, and The Perfumed Garden. He also translated and published the Arabian Nights. Queen Victoria awarded him the honor of Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George for his service to England in 1886. When Burton died in 1890, his wife immediately burned all of his diaries and unpublished manuscripts, releasing her own whitewashed version of his life. Snubbed by Westminster Abbey, Burton was buried at Mortlake in London. (bio by: Iola)
St Mary Magdalene Churchyard
Greater London, England
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Sep 22, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6445
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"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself". -- Sir Richard Francis Burton, 'The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night' (1885) Terminal Essay: Social Conditions, fn. 13.|
Added: Dec. 3, 2013
Added: Oct. 19, 2013
Added: Oct. 19, 2013
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