Sir Richard Francis Burton was a successful author, writing about the adventures and cultures he encountered on travels throughout Africa, Arabia, India, and South America. His most famous books, however, were translations: One Thousand and One Nights (popularly known as "1,001 Arabian Nights") and the Kama Sutra.
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    On March 19, 1821, Richard Francis Burton was born in Torquay, Devon, England. Burton would become one of the most celebrated and influential explorers of the 19th century.
     
    Burton loved to learn. He spoke as many as 40 languages, many fluent enough to pass as a native. He studied everything from fencing to falconry. He translated famous books, such as One Thousand and One Nights (popularly called “1,001 Arabian Nights”), as well as wrote his own popular books on travel and foreign cultures. Burton was one of the first Europeans to navigate what is now Tanzania and Kenya, and the very first European to visit Lake Tanganyika. He served the British government as a diplomat in India, Brazil, West Africa, Syria, and Austria-Hungary.
     
    Burton’s most famous accomplishment was probably disguising himself as a Muslim pilgrim and traveling to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    accomplishment Noun

    unique achievement, or something done well.

    culture Noun

    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

    diplomat Noun

    person who negotiates important political and economic agreements, usually for a government.

    explorer Noun

    person who studies unknown areas.

    falconry Noun

    sport and training of falcons or other raptors (such as hawks) to hunt.

    fencing Noun

    individual or team sport where athletes practice attack and defense with bladed weapons (swords) to score points on an opponent's body.

    fluent Adjective

    able to speak, write, and understand a language.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    holy Adjective

    spiritually blessed or sacred.

    influential Adjective

    important; having the ability to lead the opinions or attitudes of others.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    Muslim Adjective

    having to do with Islam, the religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.

    navigate Verb

    to plan and direct the course of a journey.

    pilgrim Noun

    person who travels to a place for a religious or spiritual reason.

    Swahili noun, adjective

    a language of eastern Africa.

    translate Verb

    to turn written or spoken text into a different language.