Burckhardt, Jean-Louis [John Lewis; Johann Ludwig]
- Iain Browning
[John Lewis; Johann Ludwig]
(b Lausanne, Nov 24, 1784; d Cairo, Oct 15, 1817).
Swiss explorer. He was born into a distinguished Basle family and attended the university at Leipzig (1800) and subsequently at Göttingen (1804). He arrived in England in 1806 where, through the influence of Sir Joseph Banks, he was adopted by the African Society to search for the source of the River Niger. In 1809 he departed for the Middle East where, at Aleppo, he perfected his Arabic and undertook a protracted induction into Muslim theology, practice and culture. In 1812 he set out for Cairo, en route discovering the ancient city of Petra. His subsequent exploration of the Upper Nile led to his discovery of the Great and Small Temples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel. Accepted as a Muslim after rigorous cross-examination, he visited Mecca and Medina in 1814, the first European to have done so. Further travels ensued, but after his return to Cairo in ...