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Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (1821-1890) was an English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, linguist, poet, hypnotist, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian, and African languages. He was a captain in the army of the East India Company serving in India. Following this he was engaged by the Royal Geographical Society to explore the east coast of Africa and led an expedition guided by the locals which discovered Lake Tanganyika. His best-known achievements include travelling in disguise to Mecca, making an unexpurgated translation of The Book of One Thousand Nights and a Night. Burton was considered a controversial figure in his day; many considered him a hero, others jealous of his achievements called him a scoundrel. Burton remains possibly the greatest explorer ever because of his remarkable research and uncensored documentation of the lifestyles of the various cultures he encountered in his adventures.