James Edward Alexander

James Edward Alexander

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir James Edward Alexander KLS, K.St.J. (October 16, 1803 – April 2, 1885), British soldier, traveller and author.

Born in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, he received his training in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sandhurst. He joined the British East India Company's army in 1820, transferring into the British Army in 1825. As aide-de-camp to the British envoy to Persia, he witnessed fighting during the war between Persia and Russia in 1826 and in 1829 was present in the Balkans during the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829. From 1832 to 1834, he witnessed the Miguelete War in Portugal and in 1835 took part in the 6th Cape Frontier War (Kaffir Wars) in South Africa as aide-de-camp to Sir Benjamin d'Urban. He was the son-in-law of Charles Collier Michell having married in Cape Town on 25 October 1837 Eveline Marie Michell born 16 April 1821.

On behalf of the Royal Geographical Society, he conducted an exploring expedition into Namaqualand and Damaraland, lasting from 8 September 1836 to 21 September 1837, in the course of which he collected rock specimens, pelts of rare animals, birdskins, weapons and implements from the Herero and Nama, as well as drawing maps of the region and making a first list of Herero words. Subsequently Arrowsmith made use of his data to draw a map accompanying his book on the expedition. Alexander Bay on the Orange River mouth, is named after him.

In 1838, he was knighted for his services. From 1841 to 1855 he served in Canada, then the Crimea and in 1862 held an important command during the Māori War in New Zealand. He retired from active service in 1877 and in 1881 was given the honorary rank of general. In 1877, he was largely responsible for the preservation and transfer of Cleopatra's Needle to England.


* "Travels from India to England: comprehending a visit to the Burman empire, and a journey through Persia, Asia Minor, European Turkey, &c. In the years 1825-26". – London : Parbury, Allen, & Co, 1827
* "Travels through Russia and the Crimea". (1830, 2 vols.)
* "Transatlantic Sketches: comprising visits to the most Interesting Scenes in North & South America & West Indies". 2 vols. – London : Richard Bentley, 1833
* "Sketches in Portugal during the Civil War of 1834". – London : J. Cochrane & Co, 1835
* "Narrative of a Voyage of Observation among the Colonies of Western Africa, in the Flag-Ship Thalia; and of a Campaign in Kaffir-Land, on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief in 1835". 2 vols. – London : Henry Colburn, 1837
* "Expedition of discovery into the interior of Africa : Through the Hitherto Undescribed Countries of the Great Namaquas, Boschmans, and Hill Damaras, Performed under the Auspices of Her Majesty's Government and the Royal Geographic Society". 2 vols. – London : Henry Colburn, 1838
* "Life of Field Marshal, His Grace the Duke of Wellington : Embracing His Civil, Military, and Political Career to the Present Time". 2 vols. – London : Henry Colbourn, 1839–40
* "L'Acadie : or Seven Years' Explorations in British America". 2 vols. – London : Henry Colburn, 1849 (online: [http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?doc=36220 vol.1] , [http://www.canadiana.org/cgi-bin/ECO/mtq?doc=36221 vol.2] )
* "Passages in the life of a soldier, or, Military service in the East and West". – London : Hurst & Blackett, 1857
* "Salmon-Fishing in Canada by a Resident". – London und Montreal : Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860
* "Incidents of the last Maori-War in New Zealand". – London : Richard Bentley, 1863
* "Bush Fighting". – London : Sampson, Low, Marston, Low & Searle, 1873
* "Cleopatra's Needle, the obelisk of Alexandria" (1879)



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