the biographical sketches
Thomas Edward Lawrence, called "Lawrence of Arabia" (1888-1935), British adventurer, soldier, and author, who mobilized the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence was born in Tremadoc, Wales, and educated at the University of Oxford. In 1910 he participated in a British Museum archaeological expedition to the ancient Hittite city of Carchemish, and he subsequently traveled in the Sinai, where he learned to speak Arabic. He described his experiences in The Wilderness of Zin. At the beginning of the First World War in 1914, Lawrence worked for the British Military Intelligence Service in Cairo. He was sent with British troops to Prince Faisal, who later became King Faisal I of Iraq. British forces fought the Ottomans. In Mesopotamia, a British army recaptured the city of Al Kut early in 1917. They went to Baghdad and defeated the Ottomans at the city of Ramadi. In Palestine, the British twice made unsuccessful attacks on the coastal fortress of Gaza. They overwhelmed Gaza, and captured Jerusalem in December 1917. German troops reinforced the Ottomans and they tried to recapture Jerusalem. They were defeated. In Al Hijâz, Saudi Arabia, Lawrence worked among the Arabs who were in revolt against Ottoman rule. He was accepted as their military adviser, and he unified their armed forces against the Ottoman Empire. In 1918, Lawrence and Faisal triumphantly entered Damascus before the arrival of the British army. He was hailed as a hero by the Arabs. After the war, Lawrence failed to gain independence for the Arabs. He left the Paris Peace Conference and felt that he had broken their trust. From 1921 to 1922 he worked for the British Colonial Office. He resigned and enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He changed his name to J. H. Ross. In 1923 he enlisted in the Royal Tank Corps. He changed his name to T. E. Shaw. He returned to the air force in 1925 and served until 1935. A short time after his retirement, he was killed in a motorcycle accident. Lawrence wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It is the story of his adventures among the Arabs and it is a literary masterpiece. Revolt in the Desert is a condensed version of the same book. The film, Lawrence of Arabia, portrayed his role in the Arab revolt.
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Edited by Michael Hawes