Michael N Burton Biography & Facts
Sir Richard Francis Burton (; 19 March 1821 – 20 October 1890) was a British explorer, writer, scholar, and soldier. He was famed for his travels and explorations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke twenty-nine European, Asian, and African languages.Burton's best-known achievements include: a well-documented journey to Mecca in disguise, at a time when Europeans were forbidden access on pain of death; an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand and One Nights (commonly called The Arabian Nights in English after early translations of Antoine Galland's French version); the publication of the Kama Sutra in English; a translation of The Perfumed Garden, the "Arab Kama Sutra"; and a journey with John Hanning Speke as the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile.
His works and letters extensively criticised colonial policies of the British Empire, even to the detriment of his career. Although he aborted his university studies, he became a prolific and erudite author and wrote numerous books and scholarly articles about subjects including human behaviour, travel, falconry, fencing, sexual practices, and ethnography. A characteristic feature of his books is the copious footnotes and appendices containing remarkable observations and information. William Henry Wilkins wrote: "So far as I can gather from all I have learned, the chief value of Burton’s version of The Scented Garden lay not so much in his translation of the text, though that of course was admirably done, as in the copious notes and explanations which he had gathered together for the purpose of annotating the book. He had made this subject a study of years. For the notes of the book alone he had been collecting material for thirty years, though his actual translation of it only took him eighteen months."Burton was a captain in the army of the East India Company, serving in India, and later briefly in the Crimean War. Following this, he was engaged by the Royal Geographical Society to explore the east coast of Africa, where he led an expedition guided by locals and was the first European known to have seen Lake Tanganyika. In later life, he served as British consul in Fernando Pó (now Bioko, Equatorial Guinea), Santos in Brazil, Damascus (now Syria), and finally in Trieste (now Italy). He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was awarded a knighthood in 1886.
Early life and education (1821–1841)
Burton was born in Torquay, Devon, at 21:30 on 19 March 1821; in his autobiography, he incorrectly claimed to have been born in the family home at Barham House in Elstree in Hertfordshire. He was baptised on 2 September 1821 at Elstree Church in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. His father, Lt.-Colonel Joseph Netterville Burton, of the 36th Regiment, was an Irish-born British army officer of Anglo-Irish extraction who through his mother's family—the Campbells of Tuam—was a first cousin of Lt.-Colonel Henry Peard Driscoll and Mrs Richard Graves. Richard's mother, Martha Baker, was the daughter and co-heiress of a wealthy English squire, Richard Baker (1762–1824), of Barham House, Hertfordshire, for whom he was named. Burton had two siblings, Maria Katherine Elizabeth Burton (who married Lt.-General Sir Henry William Stisted) and Edward Joseph Netterville Burton, born in 1823 and 1824, respectively.Burton's family travelled extensively during his childhood and employed various tutors to educate him. In 1825, they moved to Tours in France. In 1829, Burton began a formal education at a preparatory school in Richmond Green in Richmond, Surrey, run by Reverend Charles Delafosse. Over the next few years, his family travelled between England, France, and Italy. Burton showed a talent to learn languages and quickly learned French, Italian, Neapolitan and Latin, as well as several dialects. During his youth, he allegedly had an affair with a Roma girl and learned the rudiments of the Romani language. The peregrinations of his youth may have encouraged Burton to regard himself as an outsider for much of his life. As he put it, "Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect applause".Burton matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, on 19 November 1840. Before getting a room at the college, he lived for a short time in the house of William Alexander Greenhill, then doctor at the Radcliffe Infirmary. Here, he met John Henry Newman, whose churchwarden was Greenhill. Despite his intelligence and ability, Burton was antagonised by his teachers and peers. During his first term, he is said to have challenged another student to a duel after the latter mocked Burton's moustache. Burton continued to gratify his love of languages by studying Arabic; he also spent his time learning falconry and fencing. In April 1842, he attended a steeplechase in deliberate violation of college rules and subsequently dared to tell the college authorities that students should be allowed to attend such events. Hoping to be merely "rusticated"—that is, suspended with the possibility of reinstatement, the punishment received by some less provocative students who had also visited the steeplechase—he was instead permanently expelled from Trinity College.According to Ed Rice, speaking on Burton's university days, "He stirred the bile of the dons by speaking real—that is, Roman—Latin instead of the artificial type peculiar to England, and he spoke Greek Romaically, with the accent of Athens, as he had learned it from a Greek merchant at Marseilles, as well as the classical forms. Such a linguistic feat was a tribute to Burton's remarkable ear and memory, for he was only a teenager when he was in Italy and southern France."
Army career (1842–1853)
In his own words, "fit for nothing but to be shot at for six pence a day", Burton enlisted in the army of the East India Company at the behest of his ex-college classmates who were already members. He hoped to fight in the first Afghan war, but the conflict was over before he arrived in India. He was posted to the 18th Bombay Native Infantry based in Gujarat and under the command of General Charles James Napier. While in India, he became a proficient speaker of Hindustani, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sindhi, Saraiki and Marathi as well as Persian and Arabic. His studies of Hindu culture had progressed to such an extent that "my Hindu teacher officially allowed me to wear the janeo (Brahmanical Thread)". Him Chand, his gotra teacher, a Nagar Brahmin, could have been an apostate. Burton had a documented interest (and actively participated) in the cultures and religions of India. This was one of many peculiar habits that set him apart from other soldiers. While in the army, he kept a large menagerie of tame monkeys in the hopes of learning their language, accumulating sixty "words".: 56–65 He also earned the name "Ruffian Dick": 218.... Discover the Michael N Burton popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Michael N Burton books.