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Sven Hedin
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    (February 19, 1865-November 26, 1952)
    Born in Stockholm, Sweden
    Namesake of the scientific names of a floweing plant, two beetles, a spider, a butterfly, and a fossil hoofed mammal, and a fossil mammal-like reptile
    Worked as a private tutor for Erhard Sandgren in Baku (August 15, 1885-April 6, 1886)
    Explored the Pamir Mountains, Tarim Basin, Taklamakan Desert, Lakes Kara-Koshun and Bosten, and northern Tibet (October 16, 1893-March 2, 1897); the Yarkand, Tarim, and Kaidu rivers, Loulan, Tibet, and Kashmir (1899-1902); and the central Iranian desert basins, western Tibet, and the Transhimalaya (1905-1908)
    Writings include 'Through Asia' (1898), 'Trans-Himalaya' (1909-1913), 'Overland to India' (1910), 'Southern Tibet' (13 volumes, 1917–1922), 'My Life as an Explorer' (1926), and 'The Silk Road' (1938)
    Awarded Vega Medal (1898), Livingstone Medal (1902), Victoria Medal (1903), Ferdinand von Richthofen Medal (1933), and Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle (1940)
    Ennobled (1902)
    Elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1905) and to the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences (1909)
    Named Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (1909)
    Held the 6th of 18 chairs as an elected member of the Swedish Academy (1913-1952)
    Led a Sino-Swedish expedition to study the meteorogical, topographic, and prehistoric situation in Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, and Xinjiang (1927-1935)
    Died in Stockholm
    Like many fellow explorers of his time, he participated in the Great Game, a competition between Britain and Russia to acquire new territories between each other's existing ones.
    He opposed the trend towards democracy in Sweden.
    Some sources say that he neglected to bring enough drinking water for his expedition through the Taklamakan Desert, resulting in his near-death and the deaths of seven camels and two escorts from thirst.
    Other sources say that his obsession with his research led him and a servant to abandon the caravan he was traveling with, and he was criticized for such ruthless behavior.
    He supported Germany during World War I, which cost him friends from Russia, China, and India, as well as respect from their governments.
    He sympathized with Hitler's Third Reich, allowing the Nazis to exploit his research and resulting in his social and scientific isolation.
    He persuaded a British military court to change Colonel General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst's death sentence to 20 years in prison despite the latter's war crimes for shooting captured commandos. (December 4, 1946)
    He sketched panoramas of the places he explored with great accuracy.
    His expeditions also contributed to greater knowledge of extinct cultures in the eastern Tarim Basin.
    He was kept prisoner by hostile tribes during his expedition through the Transhimalaya.
    He had to put up with anti-Semitic jokes and caricatures in Sweden because he had a Jewish ancestor from his mother's side.
    Despite his close relations with the Nazis, he also criticized many of its policies, including its persecution of Jews.
    He even saved (or tried to save) a handful of Jews, including his friend Alfred Philippson and his family when they were deported to Theresienstadt.
    He also saved the lives of Norwegian activists, including professor Didrik Arup Seip from Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Credit: Big Lenny

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