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Richard Francis Burton 1821-1890
CHRONOLOGY (from Mary Lovell)
1821 19 March Richard Francis Burton born at Torquay. Baptised Elstree 2 September. Family live with Baker grandparents in Hertfordshire.
1826 Burton family move to Tours, France.
1829 Burtons return to England; RFB attends school at Richmond.
1831 Burtons return to France; Blois.
1832 Burtons tours Sienna/Perugia/Florence/Rome/Pisa.
1833 Burtons settle in Naples.
1836 Burtons leave Naples for Pau, south of France.
1837 Burtons return to Italy and settle in Lucca.
1840 RFB enrolled at Trinity College, Oxford.
1841 RFB at Oxford University. Begins to study Arabic; summer vacation in Weisbaden.
1842 RFB leaves Oxford. June: RFB embarks for India. October: RFB arrives Bombay, serves under Charles Napier.
1843 Regiment stationed at Baroda.
1844 Stationed at Karachi and Later Gharra (Sindh); sent to Hyderabad with Survey Department.
1845 Appointed Assistant Surveyor and given intelligence missions.
1846 RFB returns to Hyderabad; appointed Regimental Interpreter; resigns from Survey Department contrary to direct order, and marches with regiment, but battle aborted and he returns to reprimand; given two years' sick leave.
1847 Proceeds to Goa and Neilgherries for convalescence; spends summer in hill stations (Ootacamund). Returns to Bombay in October.
1848 RFB returns to regiment in Sindh; too ill to work at Survey, studies Arabic and Sindi.
1849 RFB's application to serve as Chief Interpreter to C.O. in Mooltan campaign refused. He obtains home leave on medical grounds.
1850 Returns to England; visits parents in Italy.
1851 Stays in London and Dover and then goes to Boulogne where his parents and family join him. Meets Isabel Arundell.
1852 Plans solo expedition to Mecca.
THE PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA, 1853
1853 Visits Mecca and Medina as bona-fide pilgrim.
1854 Plans African expedition. Meets Speke. RFB's mother dies on 18
THE HORN OF AFRICA, 1854-1855
1855 April: Burton and Speke attacked and wounded at Berbera; return to Aden. RFB diagnosed with syphilis and sent home for treatment.
1856 RFB serves in Crimea with Beatson's Horse; meets Isabel at Kew and becomes unofficially engaged; returns to Bombay, sails for Zanzibar.
EAST AFRICA, 1856-1859
1857 June: Burton/Speke Expedition sets out from coast for Central Lake regions of East Africa. September: RFB's father dies.
1858 Expedition successfully locates Lake Tanganyika. During return journey Speke makes side expedition and finds Lake Victoria.
1859 Expedition returns to East African coast and Zanzibar. While RFBrecovers from fever Speke returns to England alone and is given most of the credit for the expedition's success. Richard returns to find he has been sidelined. Meets Isabel again but finds her parents still opposed to him.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1860
1860 RFB feud with Speke; leaves for U.S.A. tour. Speke returns to Africa to find source of Nile with Grant.
1861 January: RFB and Isabel marry. RFB accepts position as H.B.M. Consul Fernando Po, West Africa and thereby inadvertently resigns commission in Army. Sails for West Africa.
WEST AFRICA, 1861-1864
1862 RFB makes first tour of West African coast and interior including expedition to search for gorillas and cannibal tribes. December: first home leave; Christmas at Wardour Castle.
1863 RFB co-founds Anthropological Society. Couple sail for Madeira and spend several months 'honeymooning' there before RFB returns to his post. Explores Congo as far as Yalalla rapids.
1864 August: RFB returns to London. September: Bath meeting and Speke's death. RFB appointed Consul in Santos, Brazil.
SOUTH AMERICA, 1865-1869
1865 August: Couple go to Lisbon where RFB sails for Brazil.
1866 H.B.M. Consul Santos.
1867 RFB makes several expeditions into Brazilian interior, one with IB, terminated by her accident. RFB goes on alone, sails/canoes 1,500 miles down S. Francisco river to coast while IB returns alone to Rio.
1868 May: RFB critically ill with pneumonia and hepatitis, sends in resignation. IB returns to England to lobby for Syrian posting, while RFB makes South American tour including Paraguay and Chile.
1869 RFB appointed H.B.M. Consul in Damascus, proceeds there via Vichy; IB follows later (in December).
1870 Damascus. Desert excursions including Palmyra.
1871 Damascus. Attack on Nazareth; RFB recalled, returns to London to answer unfair charges.
1872 First visit to Iceland. Death of Isabel's mother and brother. RFB offered Trieste.
1873 H.B.M. Consul Trieste. Couple visit Rome, Florence and Vienna.
1874 RFB seriously ill. September: tour of North Italy; December: IB to London to publish books.
1875 May: RFB joins IB in England; makes second visit to Iceland. December: couple return to Trieste for Christmas.
1876 Couple spend six months' holiday in India revisiting scenes of RFB's service there. Plans bogus 'Kama Shastra Society' as device for publishing erotica.
1877 Trieste. RFB goes to Egypt; from Cairo makes 3-week 'reconnaisance' expedition in Midian to look for gold.
1878 Second Midian expedition - 4 months supported by Khedive. Couple return to England; RFB lectures at Spiritualist Association.
1879 April: couple return to Trieste separately. IB badly injured in fall in Paris. October: tour of North Italy.
1880 Trieste. Couple visit Oberammergau.
1881 RFB to West Africa for Guinea Coast Gold Mines Co. Joins Isabel in London before returning to Trieste.
1882 Trieste. RFB ordered to Egypt to search for Palmer.
1883 Trieste. RFB working on Arabian Nights translations; suffers first heart attack.
1884 Trieste. RFB very ill all Spring. Foreign Office refuse to allow early retirement.
1885 Begins to publish his translations of the Arabian Nights.
1886 Tangiers and Gibraltar; knighthood conferred on 25th Wedding Anniversary.
1887 RFB taken ill with second heart attack in Cannes. IB learns she has ovarian cancer.
1888 RFB's last trip to England. Winter in Switzerland.
1889 RFB works on translations of erotic manuscripts all year. Winter in North Africa to search for original Arabic manuscript of Scented Garden.
1890 RFB translates and annotates Scented Garden. October 19: Death of RFB. IB burns manuscript of Scented Garden.
1891 June: RFB buried at Mortlake.
1892 IB publishes seminal 2-volume biography of RFB.
1896 March 22: Death of IB.