Untitled Document

Explorers of Arabia

1969, 21 July

Printer: Bradbury & Wilkinson
Designer: Unknown
Sheet Size:
Perf.: 13 1/2

Each of the stamps in the set portrays a Western explorer, who has contributed to the knowledge of the Arabian Peninsula, and a map of the peninsula. Accompaning the postal announcement was a lengthy two page biographical sketch of the four edplorers. This may be the work of Bruce Conde who from time to time wrote some of the Dubai postal announcements, after the Baroody contract expired.

Burton, who had little formal education, was introduced to Arabic at Oxford where he spent a year, before being expelled. Later, he showed a proficiency for oriental languages while serving in the army in India and eventually made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1953 in the disquise of an Indian Parthan. His books A Pilgrimage to al-Medina and Meccah (1855) and his translation of The Arabian Nights, are classics. Burton is considered one of the most colorful characters of the nineteenth century.

Doughty, an English writer, is considered one of the greatest of Arabian travelers. Fom Damascus, in 1876, he began his wandering in Arabia that made him famous. His BOOK Travels in Arabia Deserta appeared in 1888, but won little recognition at the time. Today it is considered a classic. Doughty himself attached greater importance to his poetry.

Thesiger, another Englishman, is best known for his book Arabian Sands (1959). He explored Southern Arabia and twice crossed the Empty Quarter (The central desert of Arabia). With Thesiger's journey, the last great phase in Arabian exploration ended.


Burkhardt, a Swiss orientalist, under the name of Shaikh Ibrahim ibn Abdullah, and wearing Muslim clothing, achieved a profound knowledge of Muslim law and customs and a deep sympathy for Islam. His original goal, after leaving his studies in England and spending time in the Middle East studying Arabic and the local custons, was to explore south of the Sahara. When there were no prospects of him leaving after his arrival in Cairo, he began to explore the Sudan and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. His book Travels in Arabia (1829) and Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys (1831) are classics.
Burkhardt left his large personal collection of Arabic manuscripts to Cambridge University where he had studied. Sadly, he never had the chance to cross the Sahara.



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