Of a landed county family, Charles Montagu Doughty (DOWT-ee) was born in Suffolk on August 19, 1843. At various times, he studied at King’s College, London, and the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Leyden, and Louvain. While still an undergraduate at Cambridge, he spent a year (1863-1864) studying Norwegian glaciers and returned to England to publish his findings in On the Jöstedal-Brai Glaciers in Norway. After his graduation, he continued to study—archaeology, geology, geography, and early English literature—without any apparent pattern or purpose. In 1870, he left England, passing through Holland, Italy, Spain, and Athens before reaching Egypt in 1874.
Doughty also made several expeditions into the Sinai Peninsula, charting the geological formations and making maps of the terrain. He then returned to Europe and wrote to the Royal Geographical Society in London, offering his information and requesting funds for further exploration. He was refused, for the society believed that it had all the information on the Sinai Peninsula it needed.
Returning to the Near East, Doughty traveled throughout northwestern Arabia for two years (1876-1878) with a group of Bedouins, living in their tents and making many notations on the land, the geology, and the customs of the tribes. Although he adopted many of the customs and mannerisms of his hosts, Doughty never denied his Christian identity, so his life was at risk almost constantly. On...
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