Charles George Gordon
Born on 28th of January 1833
Died on 26th of January 1885
Quotes from Charles George Gordon
'If you tell the truth, you hav'... More
Born into a military family (one of 11 children) as the Victorian era was about to dawn, Charles George Gordon epitomises much of the best of the imperial age, avoiding its complacency.
Gordon trained as an engineer at Woolwich, the logical and professional approach of that grounding seen throughout his career.
He served with distinction at Sevastopol, then when peace was made was involved in surveying the boundaries delineating Russia and the Ottoman territory.
Gordon made his name (or nickname – Chinese Gordon) in China during the Taiping Rebellion, first with British forces, then leading the mercenary Ever Victorious Army, whose mutinous excesses he stilled by shooting a ringleader. The Emperor ennobled him, and made him regional military commander and a Mandarin.
He returned to England in 1865 to engineering work on the forts at Gravesend, also engaging in social work – giving away most of his pay - and teaching in his spare time.
In 1874 he was sent to assist the Egyptians, becoming governor of Sudan. He suppressed the slave trade, and improved communications and defences there. After work in India and South Africa he was asked in 1884 to oversee British and Egyptian evacuation of Sudan, but instead tried to resist the Mahdi’s rebellion. In effect abandoned by Gladstone, Gordon held out for months in Khartoum. The relief force eventually organised arrived two days after the city fell.
Britain mourned Gordon of Khartoum, a contradictory enigma: a committed Christian who belonged to no church; a man of action and a mystic who spent a year studying in Palestine; an imperial hero who advocated home rule for various possessions including Ireland.
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