Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784-1817) Swiss by birth, travelled to London in 1806 with an introduction to Joseph Banks, leading member of the African Association. Burckhardt thereafter devoted himself to the language and customs of Arabic peoples in order to pass through Islamic countries then hostile to Christians.
Indeed, so proficient he became in the vulgar Arabic, and in his knowledge of the Qu’ran, that he was not only accepted as a true believer but praised as a great Muslim scholar. In 1814 he became one of the first Christians to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1817, while at Cairo, Burckhardt contracted dysentery from which he died. He was buried as a holy pilgrim in Muslim cemetery there.