Henry Rider Haggard, 1856 - 1925

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Born: 22 June 1856, Bradenham, Norfolk, England, UK
Died: 14 May 1925, London, England, UK

The eighth of ten children and the youngest son, his father chose not to finance a private education for him, he attended Ipswich Grammar School. He failed his army entrance exam, then was sent to a "private crammer" to prepare him for a position in the British Foreign Office but he never even took the test. In 1875 his father sent him to Africa, securing an unpaid position with the Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Natal. A year later he was on the staff of the Special Commissioner for the Transvaal. In April of 1877 he raised the Union Jack over Pretoria when the British annexed the Boer Republic, and when the official appointed to read the official proclamation lost his voice, Haggard made the formal announcement. He fell in love with Lilly Jackson but before he had enough income to marry her she was married to a banker, in 1880 Haggard returned to England and married Louisa Margitson. Lilly's banker husband absconded with her money and Haggard would later provide her and her children with a home for many years.

Haggard and Louisa returned to England in 1881, he studied law and was called to the bar in 1884 but practiced very little. Instead he started writing fantastic novels of adventure, primarily in Africa, and mostly featuring Allan Quatermain. The first of these was King Solomon's Mines, published in 1885. She, the epic story of Ayesha (the original She Who Must Be Obeyed) was published in 1887 and would sell over 80 million copies. His books were notable for the sympathetic treatment of natives and women and created the "Lost Worlds" genre. (Without him we might not have Indiana Jones.) Haggard was also active in reforming agriculture throughout the Commonwealth, he wrote several books on farming and served on various commissions related to land use. Like his close friend of Rudyard Kipling, he was a loyal servant and supporter of the British Empire. He was made a Knight Bachelor (1912) and Knight Commander (1919), he narrowly lost his only run for Parliament.

Biography from Wikipedia and The Free Library

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