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Hoffman, William (1867–1941), traveller and rogue, the son of William Hoffman, a surgical maker, was born in Bernburg, Anhalt, on 10 October 1867 but brought up in England from 1877. The explorer Henry Stanley met him in London in 1884 and employed him, despite his total inexperience, as his servant or valet. ...

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Lee Boo (c. 1764–1784) by Henry Kingsbury, pubd 1788 (after Georgiana Keate) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Lee Boo (c. 1764–1784), first visitor to Britain from Palau, was the second son (possibly the adoptive son) of the ibedul or ruler of Palau (fl. 1764–1791), whose name is unknown. On 9 August 1783 on her return journey from China, the ...

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Alfred Hyman Louis (1829–1915) by Histed © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Louis, Alfred Hyman (1829–1915), scholar and visionary vagrant, was born in 1829 in Birmingham, the eldest son of Hyman Tobias (or Tobar) Louis, a well-to-do merchant, and his wife, Maria. At fifteen he entered King Edward's School, Birmingham, where he began long friendships with ...

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Omai (c. 1753–c. 1780) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, c. 1776 © reserved

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Omai (c. 1753–c. 1780), first Tahitian to visit England, was taken to England in July 1774 by Captain Furneaux, commander of the Adventure (sister ship of Cook's Resolution), and returned by Cook in November 1777, having left England the previous July. He appears to have been born about 1753 on the island of ...

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Thorold, Sir Nathaniel, baronet (d. 1764), entrepreneur and adventurer, was the son of John Thorold and his wife Anne (née Alcock), of the Grantham branch of the family. He inherited Harmston Hall, Lincolnshire, quite unexpectedly in January 1738 following the death of his distant cousin ...

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