William Francis Ainsworth

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William Francis Ainsworth (born November 5, 1807 in Exeter , † November 27, 1896 in Hammersmith ) was an important explorer of the Near East .

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He studied medicine in Scotland and did geological research in the Pyrenees . In 1835 he was a participant in an expedition to the Euphrates and in 1838 an expedition to Asia Minor / Kurdistan.

Ainsworth earned geographical merit in the recovery of several ancient places. In 1835, for example, he found the city of Borsippa south of Babylon . On behalf of the London Geographical Society , he drew the exact bank line of the Halys River for the first time in 1840 . Ainsworth was also one of the first travelers to visit Kurdistan and bring news of the Assyrian Christians ( Nestorians or Chaldeans ) and Yazidis to Europe.

Ainsworth's work was recognized by geographers and ethnologists of his time. He was quoted several times by Carl Ritter , Heinrich Kiepert and Hermann Johann Christian Weissenborn .


  • An account of the caves of Ballybunian. Dublin 1834
  • Researches in Assyria, Babylonia, and Chaldæa. London 1838 ( BSB )
  • Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Armenia. 2 volumes, John W. Parker, London 1842
  • The Claims Of The Christian Aborigines Of The Turkish Or Osmanli Empire: Upon Civilized Nations. London 1843
  • Travels in the track of the ten thousand Greeks. Parker, London 1844 ( BSB )
  • A Personal Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition. 2 volumes, London 1888 ( digitized version )

Together with his cousin William Harrison Ainsworth he edited The New Monthly Magazine .


  • Heinrich Pleticha and Hermann Schreiber: The discovery of the world. Vienna 1993
  • Friedrich Embacher: Lexicon of journeys and discoveries: in two sections: 1. The explorers of all times and countries. 2. History of the discovery of the individual continents. Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig 1882 ( digitized version )