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Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) by George Charles Beresford, 1904 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Conrad, Joseph [formerly Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski] (1857–1924), master mariner and author, was born on 3 December 1857 at Berdyczów in Ukraine.

Conrad was the only child of ...

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Sir Robert Dudley (1574–1649) by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1591–3 National Museum of Fine Arts, Sweden

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Dudley, Sir Robert (1574–1649), mariner and landowner, was born at Sheen House, Richmond, Surrey, on 7 August 1574, the son of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588), and Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield (1542/3–1608). The status of his birth, which was to become the leading obsession of his life, is still debated, as are the circumstances of his early life, due in part to his own deliberate exaggerations and falsifications. Despite his mother's later claim that she refused to surrender him to ...

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Verney, Sir Francis (1584–1615), pirate, was the elder son of Edmund Verney (1535–1600) of Penley, Hertfordshire, and Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire, who was knighted in 1597 or 1598. Sir Edmund's first marriage had been childless and Francis's mother was his second wife, Audrey (1543–1588)...