The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Hedin, Sven Anders

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HEDIN, Sven Anders, svĭn än'dĕrz hĭ-dēn', Swedish geographer and explorer: b. Stockholm, 19 Feb. 1865; was educated at Stockholm, Upsala, Berlin and Halle, at the latter university receiving the degree of doctor of philosophy. In 1885 he began his first journey of exploration through Persia and Mesopotamia. In 1890 he went to Persia as a member of King Oscar's embassy to the Shah, and the next year journeyed through Khorassan and Turkestan. In 1893 he set out on a remarkable journey from the Russian frontier to Peking, through Tibet and the Lob-nor region. He arrived at his destination in 1897, having experienced four years of exciting and harrowing adventures. His second expedition to Central Asia began in 1899. In 1901, writing from Narkhlik, Dr. Hedin tells of finding the ruins of a beautiful Buddhist temple, some rare specimens of wood carving and 12 complete letters written in Chinese on paper and marvelously well preserved. He started from Chinese Turkestan in 1906 for the third journey of exploration in Tibet. During two years he covered some 4,000 miles, discovered the sources of the Brahmaputra and the Indus, several mountain ranges and Lake Chunitso. Early in the European War Dr. Hedin visited the German front, where he was granted special facilities for observation. The result was a book entitled ‘A People in Arms’ (Leipzig 1915), in which the author poured out a torrent of vitriolic abuse over Great Britain and of fulsome adulation for everything German. The book caused considerable amusement among the Allies, particularly the reference to the German Crown Prince, “tall, slim and royally straight, dressed in a dazzling white tunic and wearing the Iron Cross of the first and second class. . . . Would you like to know what the German Crown Prince eats for supper? Here is the menu. . . .” Dr. Hedin has made numerous valuable contributions to geographical literature. His works include ‘A Journey through Persia and Mesopotamia’ (1887); ‘King Oscar's Embassy to the Shah of Persia’ (1891); ‘A Journey through Khorassan and Turkestan’ (1892); ‘Through Asia’ (2 vols., 1898); ‘Central Asia and Tibet’ (1903); ‘Adventures in Tibet’ (1904); a scientific treatise in German, ‘The Results to Geographic Science of my Travels in Central Asia’ (1900), and ‘The Scientific Results of a Journey in Central Asia 1893-1902 (6 vols., 1904 et seq.).