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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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MacGregor, John [called Rob Roy] (1825–1892), philanthropist and traveller, born on 24 January 1825 at Gravesend, Kent, was the eldest son of General Sir Duncan MacGregor KCB (1787–1881), inspector-general of police in Ireland. His mother was Elizabeth (d. 9 March 1858)...

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Mackenzie, Colin (1753–1821), military engineer and surveyor, was born at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, one of four children of Murdoch Mackenzie, merchant and postmaster, and his wife, Barbara. Little is known of his early life. His friend Alexander Johnston (1775–1849)...

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Marsden, Kate (1859–1931), traveller and nurse, was born on 13 May 1859 at the Parade, Edmonton, Middlesex, youngest of the eight children of Joseph Daniel Marsden, solicitor, and Sophia Matilda Willsted. She was educated at home, except for a brief stay at a boarding-school in ...

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McClintock, Sir (Francis) Leopold (1819–1907), naval officer and Arctic explorer, born at Dundalk, co. Louth, on 8 July 1819, was the eldest son of Henry McClintock, formerly of the 3rd dragoon guards, customs collector of Dundalk, and his wife, Elizabeth Melesina, daughter of the ...

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Portlock, Joseph Ellison (1794–1864), surveyor, army officer, and geologist, the only son of Captain Nathaniel Portlock (d. 1817), was born at Gosport, Hampshire, on 30 September 1794. After passing through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, he was commissioned second lieutenant, Royal Engineers...

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Rae, John (1813–1893), Arctic explorer, was born on 30 September 1813 at the Hall of Clestrain, near Stromness, Orkney Islands, the sixth of nine children of John Rae, factor, an Orcadian, and his wife, Margaret Glen, a Campbell from Argyll. He spent his boyhood in ...

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Rich, Sir Nathaniel (c. 1585–1636), colonial investor and politician, was probably born at Leighs in Essex, a son of Richard Rich (d. 1598), landowner, and Jane Machell or Mitchell, daughter of John Machell or Mitchell, clothier and sometime sheriff of London. His father was one of the illegitimate children of the ...

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Rich, Robert, second earl of Warwick (1587–1658), colonial promoter and naval officer, was born in May or June 1587, probably at Leighs Priory, Essex, the eldest son of Robert Rich, third Baron Rich and later first earl of Warwick (1559?–1619), courtier and privateer, and his first wife, ...

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Tweedie [née Harley], Ethel Brilliana [known as Mrs Alec Tweedie] (1862–1940), travel writer, was born at 77 Harley Street, London, on 1 June 1862, the daughter of George Harley (1829–1896), physician, and Emma Jessie, daughter of James Muspratt, a wealthy alkaline manufacturer. They had at least three children. Her family background was one of 'luxury and joy' (...

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Wallis, Samuel (1728–1795), naval officer and Pacific explorer, the son of John Wallis (1680–1768) and Sarah Barrett (d. 1731), was born in April 1728 at Fentonwoon, Cornwall, and baptized on 23 April 1728 at Lanteglos. He served in the navy as midshipman and master's mate before receiving his lieutenant's commission in October 1748. After serving as lieutenant on several ships from 1753 onwards, he received his first command, the sloop ...

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Warburton, George Drought (1816–1857), army officer and writer on Canada, the third son of George Warburton, of Aughrim, Galway, formerly inspector-general of constabulary in Ireland, and his wife, Anna, the daughter of Thomas Acton of Westaston, co. Wicklow, was born at Wicklow on 2 June 1816. He was educated at the ...