Arthur Campbell (doctor)

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Archibald Campbell or Arthur Campbell (1805–1874) of the Bengal Medical Service (the Indian Medical Service according to some sources) was the first superintendent of the sanitarium town of Darjeeling in north east India. Sources differ regarding his first name. While some say that the "A" in "Dr A. Campbell" stands for Arthur,[1] the name register of the Darwin Correspondence Online Database gives his name as Archibald,[2] supported by[3] However, in the same database, the footnote of a letter from Darwin to Sir Joseph Hooker cites his name as Andrew.[4] Family papers and census returns refer to his first name as Archibald. He is also referred to as the first superintendent of Darjeeling.[1] He was transferred from Kathmandu to Darjeeling in 1839.[1][5]

In India[edit]

Magnolia campbellii is named in his memory

Campbell transferred from the position of British Resident in Nepal to Darjeeling in 1839. His efforts to develop the area led to a population increase from less than 100 in 1839 to around 10,000 in 1849, swelled by immigrants from Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.[6]

He brought tea seeds from the Kumaun region in India. In 1841, which he started to grow near his residence at Beechwood, Darjeeling, on an experimental basis.[5] His experiments were followed by similar efforts by several others, and soon, tea began to be cultivated in the area as Darjeeling tea.

In 1849, Campbell and Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, a noted naturalist and explorer, were imprisoned by Namguey, the "Mad Dewan" of Sikkim as they toured the Sikkim region towards the Cho La in Tibet.[4][7] A British team was sent to negotiate with the king of Sikkim and they were released without any bloodshed.[8]

By 1852, Campbell had organised the construction of 70 European style houses, a bazaar and jail along with roads. Forced labour was abolished and more the Rs. 50,000/- had been raised in revenue.[6]

Campbell wrote many papers on Himalayan geography[2] and at least one paper on the Lepchas of Sikkim.[1] The magnolia species, Magnolia campbellii, is named after him.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Kennedy Dane. The Magic Mountains: Hill Stations and the British Raj, Berkeley: University of California Press, c1996 1996.
  2. ^ a b Archibald Campbell, 1805–74[dead link]
  3. ^ History of Darjeeling tea Archived November 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Letter number 1558: To J. D. Hooker. 10 March 1854. Archived October 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. The Darwin Correspondence Online Database.
  5. ^ a b Darjeeling Tea History.
  6. ^ a b "Pre-Independence [Darjeeling]". Government of Darjeeling. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Paget, William Henry (1907). Frontier and overseas expeditions from India. Indian Army Intelligence Branch. p. 41. 
  8. ^ History of Darjeeling
  9. ^ Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995), Plants and their names : a concise dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4 , p. 303