Burckhardt, Johann Ludwig or John Lewis [key], 1784–1817, European explorer, b. Switzerland, educated in Germany. Supported by an English association for promoting African discovery, he visited Egypt and Syria (1809–13), rediscovered Petra (1812), then, posing as a learned Muslim, he became the first Christian to reach Medina. He died while preparing to set out from Upper Egypt for his original goal, the Niger River. Included in his Travels in Arabia (1829) is a notable account of Mecca. His journals, published by the African Association, include Travels in Nubia (1819), Travels in Syria and the Holy Land (1822), Notes on the Bedouin and Wahábys (1830), and Arabic Proverbs (1830).
See biography by K. Sim (1969).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Explorers, Travelers, and Conquerors: Biographies