MILDENHALL (Midnall), John

MILDENHALL (Midnall), John. Little Bedwell, Wiltshire 1560 — Ajmer June 1614. British Traveller in India, self-styled envoy of the E.I.C. to Mughal Court in 1603. Son of Sir John M. A London merchant, he travelled on his own account, without any official position, although he often pretended the opposite. Starting 1599, he sailed to Constantinople and Aleppo and then travelled through Armenia, Kurdistan, Iran and Afghanistan to Lahore, arriving in 1603. Akbar was first favourable, but Portuguese Jesuits criticised the British and M. himself turned out to be too stiff in his behaviour. Without an interpreter he had to learn Persian himself. Left India before Akbar’s death in 1605 and returned by land. Now he claimed to have reached an agreement, which has been much suspected. His relation with the Company was at best precarious and he was accused of abuse. Died of illness on a second visit to India.

Publications: His diary was burned after his death and only two small documents remain, publ. as “Travailes into the Indies” in Purchas vol. 1:3., then often, e.g. Foster 1921, 48-59.

Sources: *E.A.H. Blunt, “The Tomb of John Mildenhall”, JRAS 1910, 495-498; Foster 1921, 48-59; Oaten 1909, 111-116; Prasad 1980, 63-81; Wikipedia.

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