DUTREUIL DE RHINS, Jules-Léon. Saint-Étienne (Loire) 2.1.1846 — Tong-mbon-ndo in Kham 5.6.1894. French Marine Officer, Cartographer, Traveller and Explorer. Son of Jean-Denis D. de R. and Jeanne Félicité Blondart. Born in the Loire area, joined early the navy. In the 1870s captain. In 1876 he commanded the detachment of sixty men given to the king of Annam. D. de R. felt unhappy there and returned to France in 1877 continuing his career in navy as a cartographer. In 1882 in Egypt, in 1883 participated in the third Congo expedition of Brazza. Having been long time interested in Central Asia and carefully prepared for exploration there he was given in 1891 a grant jointly by the Ministry of Education and the A.I.B.L. for a journey to Lhasa and started immediately.

With his companion Fernand Grenard Dutreuil de Rhins travelled through Constantinople and Russia to Samarkand. In August-November 1891 they crossed the mountains (Altyn Tagh and Ustin Tagh) to Kashgar. Then through Takla Makan to Yarkand and Khotan, which was reached in July 1892. After three months’ stay they made an unsuccesful attempt to force their way into Tibet, returned in November and spent the winter in Khotan. With bought camels they decided to try a little used route through Cherchen to the lake Tingri Nor. This route of 1000 km they travelled in September-December 1893 and reached a distance of 100/150 km from Lhasa. In the village of Nak Chou they were arrested by Tibetan cavalry, and after 50 days of unsuccesful negotiations decided to retreat in March 1894. Now they decided to circle Tibet from north and travelled 2000 km in three months. In the sources of Yangtze near Xining in the village Tong-mbon-ndo Tibetan villagers attacked the French travellers killing Dutreuil de Rhins and robbing and capturing Grenard, who was later sent home by Chinese officers.

Dutreuil de Rhins became originally interested in Tibet when he was preparing a map of Indochina and seeing the unknown north-western boundary. Ten years he planned his exploration. The expedition found, among other things, the famous Dutreuil de Rhins Manuscript of the Gandhārī Dharmapada.

Publications: La côte d’Annam et la province de Hué. 315 p. P. 1878, 2nd ed. Le royaume d’Annam et les Annamites. P. 1879; Carte de l’Indo-Chine orientale. 1881; La mission de Brazza dans l’Ouest africain. 30 p. Bordeaux 1884; Le Congo français. 64 p. P. 1885.

Articles in Bull. de la Soc. de géogr., Annales hydrographiques, Revue maritime et coloniale, Correspondant, Revue britannique, Revue scientifique.

L’Asie centrale: Tibet et les régions limitrophes. 16+620 p. P. 1889.

Materials included by Grenard in his Mission Scientifique dans la Haute-Asie. 1-3. P. 1897-98.

Mémoire géographique sur le Thibet Oriental. 125 p. 4 maps. P. 1927.

Sources: Hopkirk 1987, 99-104; F. Marouis, D.B.F. 12; Ch. Maunoin, TP 5, 1894, 356-359 and Actes du 10e O.C., Genève 1894. IV séction 7, 1897, 39-45; *P. Meyer, CRAI 38, 1894, 269; *J. Serre, “La mission de Dutreuil de Rhins en Haute-Asie (1891-1894)”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1257-1271; *Ph. Valode, Les grands explorateurs français de Jacques Cartier à nos jours. 2008, 116-118; *Geogr. Journal 4, 1894, 572-574; parents in en.geneanet.org; Wikipedia with photo (little more in French version).

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