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 Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell

  • Birth 14 Jul 1868 Washington, Metropolitan Borough of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England
  • Death 12 Jul 1926 Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Burial Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Memorial ID 19726067

Archaeologist, Diplomat. One of the founders of modern Iraq. Born Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell at Washington Hall, Durham, into one of Victorian England's wealthiest families, Bell used the industrial fortune she inherited to obtain a first class education at Oxford, and to embark on one of the most influential careers of her generation. A distinguished scholar, archaeologist, author, linguist, and world traveler, she ultimately became a political power broker in the Middle East in the wake of World War I. Like her younger friend and colleague T.E. "Lawrence of Arabia", she spoke fluent Arabic, dressed in male Bedouin garb in the field, and was an expert camel rider who could endure long desert journeys. During the war she was posted to the Arab Bureau as the first woman in British history to serve as a military intelligence officer, and afterwards advised Winston Churchill at the 1921 conference he convened in Cairo, where she and Lawrence succeeded in establishing the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan and creating the modern state of Iraq. Her contributions to archaeology include the discovery of the ruins of Ukhaidir, and founding the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and the British School of Archaeology in Baghdad, where she remained as a key adviser to King Faisal. Physically slight and a heavy smoker, Bell suffered from pleurisy and repeated bouts of malaria, and her health was further undermined by stress and overwork as the prolific author of books, articles, political correspondence and intelligence reports. She never married, and during the last months of her life was grieved by the untimely death of her younger brother. She died from an overdose of sleeping pills in her Baghdad home, just two days short of her 58th birthday. Known and respected as "Al Khatoun" by the Iraqis, her funeral and subsequent burial in the city's Bab-al-Sharji district was widely attended.

Bio by: Nikita Barlow

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Nikita Barlow
  • Added: 4 Jun 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19726067
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gertrude Bell (14 Jul 1868–12 Jul 1926), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19726067, citing British Cemetery, Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq ; Maintained by Find A Grave .