- Not to be confused with Richard Burton, the Welsh actor.
In 1853 he disguised himself as a Muslim and undertook the pilgrimage to Mecca. Had he been discovered there as a non-Muslim he would probably been killed.
It is unclear whether Burton ever had homosexual relations, but he certainly investigated a male brothel said to be used by British soldiers, and the detail in his report has suggested to some that he may have been a customer. In his unexpurgated translation of the Arabian Nights he included a 14,000 word essay entitled "Pederasty" (Volume 10, section IV, D). Burton postulated that male homosexuality was prevalent in an area of the southern latitudes named by him the "Sotadic zone".
- This article is a stub. You can help the UK LGBT History Project by expanding it.
- Mary S Lovell, A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard & Isabel Burton (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1988). ISBN 0-393-04672-9., page 1.
- http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/b97zw/chapter1.html#section1 Thomas Wright, The Life of Sir Richard Burton, (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1906). ISBN 1-4264-1455-2, volume 1, page 37.