Sir George Everest (July 4, 1790 – December 1, 1866) was a British surveyor and geographer who served as Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843 and is probably best known for having Mount Everest named in his honour. He was a local man having been probably born and baptised at St Alfege Church, Greenwich, and in 1806 he went to the Military Academy at Woolwich before embarking for India aged 16. A year before his death in 1865 the Royal Geographical Society renamed Peak XV – at the time only recently identified as the world’s highest peak. But it was not without opposition from Everest himself. He was against the idea of having the mountain named in his honour, his objection being that his surname could not be written in the Hindi language and would be difficult for the local people to pronounce. In a way it could be said that Everest’s opposition paid off: while the name of the mountain tends to be pronounced according to its literal writing, Sir George’s surname was pronounced “Eev-rest“.
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