AINSWORTH, William Francis. All round the world: an illustrated record of voyages, travels and adventures in all parts of the globe. With two hundred illustrations, London/Glaskow, W. Collins, 1870.


William Francis Ainsworth (1807-1896) was a British surgeon, geographer and geologist. He was born in Exeter and graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1827. He lived in London and in Paris, where he continued his studies in the École Nationale Supérieure Des Mines, while he practiced in geological research in Provence. He also studied in Belgium and returned to Scotland in 1829. In 1831, after a cholera epidemic, Ainsworth published a study on this disease, and offered his services as a physician during another epidemic in Ireland.

In 1836 he participated as surgeon and geologist in an expedition to the Euphrates headed by Francis Rawdon Chesney. Soon afterwards, he joined another mission to aid the Christian population of Chaldaea, organized by the Royal Geographical Society and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He travelled to Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Syria, explored the mountains of Kurdistan in the spring of 1840 and reached Istanbul by travelling through Armenia. Due to economic adversities faced by the mission, he had to returned to Britain at his own expenses in 1841.

From 1841, Ainsworth and his cousin were the editors of several reviews such as “Ainsworth's Magazine”, “Bentley's Miscellany” και το “New Monthly Magazine”. He was also secretary of the Syro-Egyptian Society, which aimed to promote the construction of the road network to India through Euphrates. He was founding member of the West London Hospital and of influential societies such as Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries.

Aside from articles in his magazines, Ainsworth translated and commented historical works, and published medical studies, historical essays and travel accounts. After the mission to Euphrates and Mesopotamia he published “Researches in Assyria, Babylonia, and Chaldea” (London, 1838) and “Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Armenia” (London, 1842). Two years later, in 1844, he published his best-known work “Travels in the Track of the Ten Thousand Greeks” a geographical and travel narrative related to the march of the Ten Thousand.

The present edition covers the author's travels to several countries of the world. Ainsworth's interest is focused primarily on social and private life of various ethnicities, as well as monuments. As he writes in his introduction, it is a book on Geography, Science and Nature. Jerusalem, Sicily, China, Japan, the islands of the Indic Ocean, Mongolia, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Cuba, the Galapagos islands, Dalmatia, the Maldives, Mount Athos, North America, South Africa, the steppes of Siberia and Morocco are only some of the countries and regions described in a text accompanied by abundant illustrations.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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