Richard F. Burton (1821–1890) was a British explorer, writer, soldier, linguist, poet, and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one account, he spoke twenty-nine European, Asian, and African languages. Burton’s best-known achievements include travelling in disguise to Mecca, and producing an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand and One Nights. Burton was a prolific and erudite author and wrote numerous books and scholarly articles about such subjects as human behavior, travel, fencing, sexual practices, and ethnography. He was also a captain in the army of the East India Company, serving in India and later in the Crimean War, as well as British consul in Fernando Po, Santos, Damascus, and Trieste.