Bokhara Burnes

Alexander Burnes met his death on November 2nd, 1841, at the hands of a furious Afghan mob. James Lunt introduces one of the most adventurous travellers of his generation.

James Lunt | Published in History Today

The world is small nowadays and the acclaim that once greeted those who had accomplished great journeys of exploration is now reserved for the voyagers in outer space.

It was different in the nineteenth century and London society was agog during the autumn of 1833 with the adventures of a young East India Company officer, Captain Alexander Burnes, who had successfully travelled from India through Afghanistan to Persia, visiting en route the virtually forbidden cities of Bokhara and Samarkand. It had been a journey fraught with hardship and danger; and Burnes fully deserved the applause that greeted his efforts.

The Royal Geographical Society gave him their Gold Medal; King William IV received him in audience and professed to be fascinated by his account of his travels; and he was much in demand as a lecturer at many a distinguished salon.

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