“Conquerors of The Künlün”? The Schlagintweit Mission to High Asia, 1854–57

  • Gabriel Finkelstein
  • History of Science, June 2000, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/007327530003800203

The backstory to Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King"

What is it about?

The rise and fall of the Schlagintweit Brothers, three Bavarian explorers of the Himalayas. They set an altitude record of 23,000 feet before coming to grief.

Why is it important?

Most histories of Himalayan exploration ignore the achievements of the Schlagintweits. They also exemplify a form of scientific diplomacy at mid-century.


Dr Gabriel Finkelstein
University of Colorado Denver

This essay took me a year and a half to research and write.

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