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June 19 , 2008

Gertrude Bell letters


Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her skill and contacts, built up through extensive travels in Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq.

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The Desert and the Sown

Born to transcend the social constraints of Victorian England, Gertrude Bell left the comforts of her privileged life for the unconventional—but thrilling—world of the Middle East. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, she traveled to Persia and became passionately drawn to the Arab people, the language, and their architecture. A…

She played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq, utilising her unique perspective from her travels and relations with tribal leaders throughout the Middle East. During her lifetime she was highly esteemed and trusted by British officials and given an immense amount of power for a woman at the time. She has been described as "one of the few representatives of His Majesty's Government remembered by the Arabs with anything resembling affection".


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