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Chunchie, Kamal Athon (1886–1953), Methodist minister and race relations worker, was born on 4 June 1886 in Kandy, Ceylon, the eldest of nine children (five sons and four daughters) of Muslim parents of Malay origin. His father, Athon Chunchie (1849/50–1928), of the Inche Che...

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Cobbold [née Murray], Lady Evelyn (1867–1963), traveller and convert to Islam, was born on 17 July 1867 at 13 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh, the eldest of the six children (five daughters and one son) of Charles Adolphus Murray, seventh earl of Dunmore...

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Faris, Ahmad [Aḣmad Fāris; formerly Faris ibn Yusuf al-Shidyaq] (1805/6–1887), author and translator, was born in al-Hadath, Lebanon, the youngest of five sons of Abu Husayn Yusuf ibn Mansur al-Shidyaq (1762–1821), secretary and tutor of Lebanese chieftains, and his wife, the daughter of ...

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Goff, Helen Lyndon [pseuds. P. L. Travers, Pamela Lyndon Travers] (1899–1996), children's writer, was born on 9 August 1899 in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. She was the first of the three children of Travers Robert Goff (1863–1907), a London-born bank manager (later demoted to a clerk), and ...

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Helen Lyndon Goff (1899–1996) by Jane Bown, pubd 1982 © Jane Bown

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Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan (1914–1944) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Khan, Noor-un-Nisa Inayat (1914–1944), special operations officer, was born on 2 January 1914 in Moscow, the eldest of four children of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927), a Sufi religious teacher and musician, and his wife, Ora Ray Baker (1890–1949). Her father was descended from the last Mughal ...

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Lings, Martin (1909–2005), scholar of Islam, was born on 24 January 1909 at Barciecroft, Burnage Lane, Burnage, Lancashire, the son of George Herbert Lings, cotton spinner and ornithologist, and his wife, Gladys Mary, née Greenhalgh. After spending much of his childhood in the ...

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Deen Mahomed (1759–1851) by Thomas Mann Baynes Wellcome Library, London

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Mahomed, Deen [formerly Deen Mahomet] (1759–1851), shampooing surgeon and restaurateur, was born Deen Mahomet in May 1759, in Patna, Bihar, India, the younger son of an Indian officer in the East India Company's Bengal army. Both parents were Shi'i Muslims claiming descent from ...

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Mehemet von Königstreu, (Georg) Ludwig Maximilian (c. 1660–1726), royal administrator, may have been the son of a Turkish pasha who governed Peloponnesian Greece for the Ottoman empire. His Muslim name was Mehemet, by which he is usually known to posterity.

The legend that he and his fellow royal servant ...

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Montagu, Edward Wortley (1713–1776), traveller and criminal, was born in London on 16 May 1713, the elder child and only son of Edward Wortley Montagu (1678–1761), MP, diplomat, and entrepreneur, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (bap. 1689, d. 1762), writer and traveller. In 1716 ...

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Mustapha, Ernst August (d. 1738), royal servant, was probably born in the Ottoman empire. As a young man he was captured in battle by a Swedish officer during the war between the Habsburg and Ottoman empires in the 1680s, and not, as is traditionally stated, by ...

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See Indian visitors

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D. J. O'Donoghue

revised by Jason Edwards

Norcott, William (1770?c. 1820), satirist, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated BA in 1795, proceeding LLB in 1801, and LLD in 1806. He was called to the Irish bar in 1797, and practised with some success for a time, but was not entirely committed to a career in law, preferring instead various kinds of social amusements....

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Osman, Efendi [formerly William Thomson] (b. before 1800, d. 1835), guide to travellers in Egypt, was originally William Thomson, a native of Scotland. Details of his life, gleaned from passing remarks by the many travellers who knew him in Cairo, are scant and occasionally contradictory. This sometimes leads to confusion, as with ...

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Pearce [alias Clark], Nathaniel (1779–1820), traveller, was born on 14 February 1779 at East Acton, Middlesex. Incorrigibly unruly, he was sent to boarding-school at Thirsk, Yorkshire; twice apprenticed to London tradesmen, he twice ran away to sea, the second time joining a naval vessel. In May 1794 he was captured by the French, but eventually succeeded in escaping; he then served on various naval and merchant ships, meeting many adventures round the world. Having survived a shipwreck off ...

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Pellow [Pellew], Thomas (b. 1703/4), writer of an account of Morocco, was born to parents of modest means but who were related to a family with numerous branches in Devon and Cornwall and which included Edward Pellew, first Viscount Exmouth of Canonteign. Pellow...

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Philby, Harry St John Bridger (1885–1960), explorer and Arabist, was born at St John's, Badulla, Ceylon, on 3 April 1885, the second son of Harry Montagu Philby (d. 1913), a coffee planter, and his wife, Queenie (1864–1950), known as May, daughter of ...

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Harry St John Bridger Philby (1885–1960) self-portrait, 1917–18 The Royal Geographical Society, London