Papers of Henry George Raverty

Scope and Content

Miscellaneous writings, primarily in English, on the history of Afghanistan with maps.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry George Raverty (1825-1906) was born in Falmouth, Cornwall, the son of Peter Raverty of co. Tyrone, a surgeon in the navy. He attended schools at Falmouth and Penzance and entered the Indian Army as a cadet in 1843, serving with the 3rd Bombay Infantry. He was at the siege of Multan in 1848 and also served in Gujerat and the North-West Frontier. He was Assistant Commissioner in the Punjab from 1852 to 1859. He retired from the army with the rank of major in 1864.

Raverty spent the rest of his life on the various Oriental studies he had begun in India. He excelled as a linguist and in 1849 began a study of Pushto, in which he became the pioneer western scholar. In 1855 he published his Grammar of the Pushto or the language of the Afghans and, in 1860 A Dictionary of the Pushto or Afghan language and an anthology of Pushto prose and poetry. At the request of the Marquis of Salisbury, Secretary of State for India 1875-76, Raverty wrote his monumental Notes on Afghanistan and Baluchistan in four instalments between 1881 and 1888.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Acquired in 1966. Immediate source unkown.

Other Finding Aids

This description constitutes the only finding aid at present.

Custodial History

At his death Raverty left 7 works either completed in manuscript or in preparation. Amongst these were materials, now in SOAS Library, on the history of the Afghan people.

Related Material

The British Library (Oriental and India Office Collections) holds a collection of the papers of Major Henry George Raverty (1825-1906), Bombay Army 1843-64, including unpublished manuscripts entitled 'The History of Herat', 'The Mahdi', 'History of the Mings or Hazarahs of the Chingiz or Great Khan'; translations and notes from various oriental works; and a Persian-Pamiri-Chitrali vocabulary; also Raverty's recollections of his experiences during the second Sikh War. 57 items, 1848 - 1906.