Eyewitness Accounts Pilgrimage to Meccah
Series: Eyewitness Accounts
- Richard Francis Burton
15th March 2015
The journey that made Richard Burton famous as a traveller and explorer in the nineteenth century was a pilgrimage to Mecca, which he carried out disguised as a Pashtun tribesman from what is now north-western Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Having spent seven years in India with the army of the East India Company, Burton was familiar with the customs and languages but the journey, travelling from Alexandria in Egypt south to the Red Sea and then from the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, was difficult and his caravan was attacked by bandits.
After the conclusion of his journey, Burton briefly served in the Crimean War, was hired by the Royal Geographical Society to explore Africa’s east coast and was the first European to see Lake Tanganyika. Later in his life, he would join the Diplomatic Service, serving in Fernando Po, Santos and Trieste among others.
This famous account describes a journey forbidden to non-Muslims made by one of the great travellers, adventurers, writers and linguists of the Victorian age.