Richard Francis Burton, a British explorer and author, born at Tuam, Ireland, in 1821. He entered the Indian army in 1842 as lieutenant. While stationed in the presidency of Bombay he spent some time in exploring the Neilgherry hills, and afterward served five years in Sinde under Sir C. J. Napier. During these years he wrote " Sinde, or the Unhappy Valley," and " Falconry in the Valley of the Indus" (1850): "Sinde, and the Races that inhabit the Valley of the Indus," and " Goa and the Blue Mountains" (1851). He had also ac-I quired the Arabic, Afghan, Persian, Hindostanee, and Mooltanee languages, of the last of which he published a grammar. In 1851 he returned to England, and, receiving a year's furlough, started to visit Mecca and Medina, which no Christian had reached since Burck-hardt, in 1814-'15. Arriving at Alexandria, he assumed the character of a wandering dervish; and so perfectly had he acquired the Arabic language and habits, that he was never detected, and succeeded in penetrating to the holy-cities. His work, "A Pilgrimage to El Medi-nah and Mecca " (1855), in which he describes this journey, excited great attention.
He soon afterward made an attempt to penetrate into Africa; this journey is described in his "First Footsteps in East Africa, or an Exploration of Harar" (1856). During the Crimean war he served as chief of staff to Gen. Beatson. In 1856 he set out upon another African expedition, starting from Zanzibar, accompanied by Capt. Speke. They penetrated to the lake region, and in 1858 discovered Lake Tanganyika. Burton described this expedition in his '"Lake Regions of Central Africa" (1860). He then visited the Mormon settlements in Utah, and published " The City of the Saints" (1861). In 1861 he was made consul at Fernando Po, on the W. coast of Africa, where he wrote " Abbeokuta and the Cameroons," and " A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahomey " (1864). In 1864 he became consul at Santos, Brazil, and wrote "Explorations of the Highlands of Brazil" (1868) and "Letters from the Battlefields of Paraguay " (collected in 1870). In 1868 he went to Damascus as consul; travelled afterward in the Holy Land, and wrote "Unexplored Palestine" (1872); and his "Anthropological Collections in the Holy Land " was published by the anthropological society.
In 1872 also appeared "Zanzibar, City, Island, and Coast." This is properly an introduction to his " Lake Regions of Central Africa," having been written before that work; but the manuscript, which had been sent to England, was mislaid in the foreign office. In 1872 he was appointed consul at Trieste. He has also published " Vikram and the Vampire, or Tales of Hindu Devilry " (1869). It is said that he has acquired 35 languages and dialects.