Western Himalaya and Tibet
Explorer and naturalist Thomas Thomson (1817-78) led an intrepid life. He started his career as an assistant surgeon with the East India Company and soon became a curator of the Asiatic Society's museum in Bengal. He was sent to Afghanistan in 1840 during the First Anglo-Afghan War, and was captured but managed to escape as he was about to be sold as a slave. Undaunted by this misfortune, he accepted a perilous mission to define the boundary between Kashmir and Chinese Tibet in 1847. During his eighteen-month journey, Thomson explored the Kashmir territories and went as far north as the barren Karakoram Pass. He collected valuable geographical and geological information as well as a wealth of botanical specimens. He describes his findings in minute detail in this account, first published in 1852. Thomson later became a Fellow of the Linnean Society, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society.