Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (Biographical details)

Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (politician/statesman; military/naval; academic/intellectual; British; Male; 1810 - 1895)

Also known as

Rawlinson, Henry Creswicke; Rawlinson, Henry Creswicke


Baronet. Born Chadlington, Oxfordshire, the second son of Abram Tyzack Rawlinson. Entered the British East India Company military service (1827) and introduced to the culture of Iran en voyage to Bombay through acquaintance with Sir John Malcolm; first travelled to Iran in 1833 when he copied inscriptions at Persepolis; later served in Iran (1835-39) as an officer seconded from the East India Company and during which time he organised the army of Mohammed Mirza Shah, commanded an expedition to Khuzestan in 1836 where he put down a rebellion, was the first European to publish a first-hand record of Luristan ("Notes on a March from Zohab ...", 'Journal of the Royal Geographical Society' 9 (1839), pp. 26-116), and recorded the rock-inscriptions at Bisitun, which he later deciphered. He became East India Company Political Agent in Afghanistan (1839-42), then Arabia when he resided in Baghdad (from 6/12/43-14/10/49) and succeeded Ross as the official Resident in Baghdad, when he met Layard, revisited Bisitun and the Sasanian reliefs at Taq-i Bustan (where he and Alexander Hector (q.v.) left a dated graffito under the belly of the armoured figure's horse in 1847), and discovered the Paikuli inscription (1843-49); returned to England (1849-51) when he appears to have made contact with the British Museum; appointed Consul-General at Baghdad (15/12/51-28/2/55), when he learnt cuneiform and supervised a number of excavations for the British Museum, including Birs Nimrud in Babylonia, and Kuyunjik and Nebi Yunus (Nineveh), Nimrud, Sherif Khan, Assur and Kushaf in Assyria; Director of the East India Company (1856); Minister to Persia (1859-60); Member of the Council of India (1858-59, 1868-95); Member of Parliament; President of the Royal Asiatic Society and Royal Geographical Society. Brother of Canon George Rawlinson, author of 'Five Great Oriental Monarchies', and father of A. Rawlinson, author of 'Adventures in the Near East 1918-1922'. Trustee of British Museum.

For one portrait, see
Another portrait by Samuel Cousins, dated 1860 after a painting by Henry W. Phillips, exists in the Royal Asiatic Society in London (RAS 089.017).


George Rawlinson, 'A memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson', London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898; J.G. Lorimer, 'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, 'Oman, and Central Arabia' (Calcutta: Government Printing House, 1915), p. 2683; J.L. Duthie, "Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson and the Art of Great Gamesmanship", 'Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History' 11 (1983), pp. 253-74; Nicole Chevalier, 'La recherche archéologique française au moyen-orient 1842-1947', Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 2002, p. 49.