The New International Encyclopædia/Badia y Leblich, Domingo
BADIA Y LEBLICH, bȧ-dē′ȧ ē̇ lā̇-blēch′, Domingo (1766-1818), known also by the name Ali-Bei-el-Abbassi. A Spanish traveler. He was born at Barcelona, and studied the Arabic language, physical science, and mathematics at Valencia. Partly out of personal curiosity and partly as an emissary of the Spanish Government, he determined to visit the Barbary States in the disguise of a Mussulman. He went for a short time to London to study commerce and politics, and spared no labor to make himself familiar with the manners and customs of the people he was about to visit. In 1803 he sailed for Africa, where he represented himself, under the name of Ali-Bei, as a descendant of the Abbassides. His talents gained for him such esteem that he was invited to the court of the Emperor of Fez and Morocco. After a two years' residence in Morocco, he set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1805, and after sojourning some time in Tripoli, Cyprus, and Egypt, arrived at the ‘holy place’ in 1807, being the first Christian to visit it since the institution of Islam. Subsequently he visited Jerusalem and the chief places in Palestine and Syria, and in the autumn of 1807 arrived at Constantinople, whence he had soon to flee, the reality of his Mohammedanism being suspected. His long journey had been a bold masquerade, carried out with exquisite art. He deceived Moslem emperors and scholars; and in Cairo, Châteaubriand spoke of him as the most cultured and polished Mussulman he had ever met. After his return to Spain he was made Intendant of Segovia and Prefect of Cordova by Joseph Bonaparte. On the expulsion of the French, Ali was compelled to leave the country. He went to Paris, where in 1814 he published an account of his travels, under the title Voyages d'Ali-Bei en Afrique et en Asie pendant les années 1803-07. The work was translated into the principal European languages. Four years after the publication Badia y Leblich set off on another journey to the East, but died suddenly at Aleppo.