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Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1872–1953) by Lafayette, 1930 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1872–1953), Indian civil servant and Islamic scholar, was born on 4 April 1872 in Surat, Gujarat, India. His father, Yusuf Ali Allahbuksh, otherwise Khan Bahadur Yusuf Ali, a Shi'i in the Dawoodi Bohra tradition, had abandoned the traditional occupation of his community, business, and entered instead the police force, being presented on retirement with the title of ...

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Bentwich, Norman de Mattos (1883–1971), colonial official and exponent of Jewish ideals, was born in London on 28 February 1883, the elder son and second of eleven children of Herbert Bentwich (1856–1932) and his wife, Susannah, daughter of Joseph Solomon, leather merchant, and sister of ...

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Norman de Mattos Bentwich (1883–1971) by Elliott & Fry, 1950 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Clarke, John (1609–1676), colonial agent and Baptist preacher, was born on 8 October 1609 in Westhorpe, Suffolk, the fifth of seven children of Thomas Clarke (d. 1627), a man of middling rank, and Rose Keridge. He appears to have received some university education and to have undertaken some study of medicine, possibly at ...

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Cotton, Sir Henry John Stedman (1845–1915), administrator in India and positivist, was born in Kumbakonam, Madras presidency, south India, on 13 September 1845, the first of two sons of Joseph John Cotton (1813–1867), East India Company servant, and his wife, Jessie Minchin, daughter of a ...

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Thomas Birch Freeman (1809–1890) by T. A. Dean (after Marshall Claxton) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Freeman, Thomas Birch (1809–1890), missionary and colonial official, was born on 6 December 1809 at Twyford, near Winchester, of an African father, Thomas Freeman, a farmer, and an English mother, Amy Birch. He adopted the name Freeman in youth, perhaps from his father who may have been a freed slave. Little is known of his upbringing except that it was in poverty, or of his education, save that he could write with elegance....

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Owen, Griffith (c. 1647–1717), Quaker preacher and colonial official, was the son of Robert Owen (1628–1685/6) of Dolsereau, near Dongelly, Merioneth, and his wife, Jane Vaughan (d. 1685/6). Nothing is known of his early years but he appears to have been granted a bishop's licence on 16 May 1674 to practise medicine. On 23 October 1678 he married ...

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Lawson, Thomas George (1814–1891), colonial official and Baptist leader, was born in October 1814 in the town of New London, Anecho, in west Africa, the second son of George Acquatay Lawson (c.1778–1856), political leader and merchant, and his wife, Adólèvi Apé...

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Palk, Sir Robert, first baronet (1717–1798), Church of England clergyman and administrator in India, was born in December 1717, apparently at Ambrooke, Ashburton, Devon, and was baptized on 16 December 1717 at the Old Mission House, Ashburton. He was the second son of ...

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Serle, Ambrose (1742–1812), colonial official and religious writer, was born on 30 August 1742 and may have been the Ambrose Serle baptized on 17 September 1742 at St Giles, Reading, son of Ambrose and Ann Serle. He entered the navy. In 1764, while living in or near ...

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Stoughton, William (1631–1701), colonial official and preacher, was born on 30 September 1631, probably in England, the second son, and one of at least six children, of Israel Stoughton (bap. 1603, d. 1644), and Elizabeth Knight (c.1605–1681). The Stoughton family migrated to ...

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Wilmot, Anthony Talbot de Burgh [Tony] (1915–1996), colonial administrator, businessman, and evangelist, was born on 24 June 1915 at The Mount, Shoreham, Kent, the youngest of five children and third son of Albert de Burgh Wilmot, paper manufacturer, and his wife, (Mary) Dorothea Herbert, ...