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Sir Thomas Edward Gordon (12 January 1832 – 23 March 1914) was a Scottish soldier, diplomat, and traveller. A
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' us ...
officer, he fought in India, served as a diplomat in
Tehran Tehran (; fa, تهران ) is the Capital city, capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the List of largest cities o ...

Tehran
, and travelled across the
Pamirs The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignm ...
. He is primarily remembered as an author of several books about India, Persia (modern-day Iran), and Central Asia of the 19th century.


Early life

Gordon was born on 12 January 1832 in Aberdeen and was a twin son of Captain William Gordon (1788–1834) of the 2nd Queen's Royal Regiment. His father had served in the
Peninsular War The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was the military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurg ...

Peninsular War
and was married at Santarém, in 1818, to Marianna Carlotta Loi Gonçalves de Mello, daughter of Luiz Gonçalves de Mello, a Spanish government official in the province of
EstremaduraEstremadura may refer to: *Estremadura Province (historical), Portugal *Estremadura Province (1936–1976), Portugal * Lisboa VR, a Portuguese wine region called Estremadura until 2009 See also

*Extremadura, an autonomous community of western S ...
. His father William Gordon was one of the sons of Adam Gordon (1750–1831) of Griamachary in the parish of Kildonan, Dingwall, whose sons and grandsons included thirteen commissioned officers, a Surgeon-General, Huntly George Gordon; and a Lord Advocate and MP,
Edward Gordon, Baron Gordon of Drumearn Edward is an English language, English given name. It is derived from the Old English, Anglo-Saxon form ÉᚪᛞǷᛠᚱᛞ (in Anglo-Saxon runes, Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet) or ''Éadƿeard'' (in Latin alphabet), composed of the elements ''wikt:ea ...
. He and his twin brother, Sir John James Hood Gordon, were the youngest children in a family of four sons and a daughter. The twins were educated at the
Scottish Naval and Military AcademyThe Scottish Naval and Military Academy in Edinburgh was a school opened on 8 November 1825 and closed in 1869. It catered mostly to young gentlemen intending a career with the Army, Navy or, especially, the forces of the East India Company#East Indi ...
, Edinburgh. Thomas Edward and John joined the British Army on the same day; both became
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
s and were knighted.


Army career

Alongside his twin brother, Thomas entered the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' us ...
, joining the
29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot was an infantry at the Battle of the Somme (July–November 1916) during the First World War Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foo ...
on 21 August 1849. He transferred to the Army in India and served in the
Indian Mutiny The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against Company rule in India, the rule of the East India Company, British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on beha ...
campaign of 1857–1858. In 1873–1874, he participated in the
Second Yarkand Mission The second (symbol: s, abbreviation: sec) is the SI base unit, base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) (French: Système International d’unités), commonly understood and historically defined as of a day – this factor d ...
led by
Thomas Douglas Forsyth Sir Thomas Douglas Forsyth (7 October 1827 – 17 December 1886) was an Anglo-Indian administrator and diplomat. Early life Forsyth was born in Birkenhead on 7 October 1827. He was the tenth child of Thomas Forsyth, a Liverpool merchant. He was ...
. The main goal of the expedition was to meet
Yakub Beg Muhammad Yaqub Bek (محمد یعقوب بیگ; uz, Яъқуб-бек, ''Ya’qub-bek''; ; 182030 May 1877) was a Khoqandi adventurer of Uzbek or Tajik descent who was the ruler of Yettishar (Kashgaria) from 1865 to 1877. He held the title o ...

Yakub Beg
, the ruler of
Chinese Turkestan East Turkestan, also East Turkistan ( ug, شەرقىي تۈركىستان, Sherqiy Türkistan, Шәрқий Түркистан, bold=no; zh, s=东突厥斯坦), varies in meaning by context and usage. The term was coined in the 19th century b ...
. Gordon also joined a party that travelled west to the
Pamirs The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignm ...
and
Wakhan Wakhan, or "the Wakhan" (also spelt Vakhan; Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated ...

Wakhan
. Gordon was accompanied on the mission by
John Biddulph Colonel John Biddulph (25 July 1840 – 24 December 1921) was a British soldier, author and naturalist who served in the government of British India. Biddulph was born in 1840, and was the third son of Robert Biddulph (MP), Robert Biddulph. He ...
,
Ferdinand Stoliczka Ferdinand Stoliczka ( Czech written Stolička, June 7, 1838 – June 19, 1874) was a Moravia Moravia ( , also , ; cs, Morava ; german: link=no, Mähren ; pl, Morawy ; szl, Morawijo; la, Moravia) is a historical region in the east of the ...
,
Henry Walter Bellew Henry Walter Bellew MRCP (30 August 1834 – 26 July 1892) was an Indian-born British medical officer who worked in Afghanistan. He wrote several books based on his explorations in the region during the course of his army career and also studied a ...

Henry Walter Bellew
, Henry Trotter, and R. A. Chapman. In 1876 Gordon published his account of the expedition.Thomas Edward Gordon. (1876)
The roof of the world: being a narrative of a journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir.
' Edinburgh, Edmonston and Douglas. p. 171.
1917. "The Amir Yakoub Khan and Eastern Turkestan in Mid-Nineteenth Century." '' Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society''. Vol. 4. No. 4. pp. 95-112. In 1889 he became Oriental Secretary to the British Legation in Tehran and was Military Attaché, 1891–93. During his visits to Persia Gordon decided to publish an account of his journey with the intention of displaying, through his observations and illustrations, evidence of the "progress and improvement" he found. In 1896 his work, ''Persia Revisited'', was published. On 1 April 1894, he was promoted
full general A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines. The term ''general'' is used in two ways: as the generic title for all ...
and placed on the Unemployed Supernumerary List of the
Indian Staff Corps{{no footnotes, date=February 2013 The Indian Staff Corps was a branch of the Indian Army The Indian Army is the Land warfare, land-based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the Commander-in-Ch ...
.


Personal life

In 1862, Gordon married firstly, Mary Helen Sawers, daughter of Alexander Sibbald Sawers. They had four daughters, Helen Elizabeth (1863–1942), Alexa Anna (9 January 1867 – 18 November 1867), Jeanetta (1876–1963), and Violet Mary (1878–1972), and a son who died in childhood, Thomas William Gordon (1868–1876).''India, Select Births and Baptisms, 1786–1947''''1901 England Census'' Mary Helen died in 1879 and he married secondly in 1894, Charlotte Davison. He was also a painter, perhaps the first European to paint the landscapes of certain remote locations of the Pamirs. Lake Victoria, Great Pamir, 2 May 1874
- one of his paintings
Gordon died in 1914 at his home in
Kensington Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of London, West of Central London. The district's commercial heart is Kensington High Street, running on an east–west axis. The north-east is ...

Kensington
.


Bibliography


''The roof of the world: being a narrative of a journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir''
– includes an eyewitness account of
Yaqub Beg Muhammad Yaqub Bek (محمد یعقوب بیگ; uz, Яъқуб-бек, ''Ya’qub-bek''; ; 182030 May 1877) was a Khoqandi adventurer of Uzbek or Tajik descent who was the ruler of Yettishar (Kashgaria) from 1865 to 1877. He held the title o ...
's regime in Kashgaria *
Persia Revisited
' *
A varied life; a record of military and civil service, of sport and of travels in India, Central Asia and Persia, 1849–1902
'


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Gordon, Thomas Edward Scottish diplomats 29th Regiment of Foot officers Explorers of Central Asia 1832 births 1914 deaths Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath Companions of the Order of the Star of India Knights Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire Scottish explorers Scottish soldiers Scottish travel writers Scottish landscape painters People from Aberdeen 19th-century Scottish writers 19th-century Scottish painters Scottish male painters 20th-century Scottish painters Scottish knights 19th-century British Army personnel Military personnel of British India Twin people from Scotland