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Valentine Blacker

Valentine Blacker CB (19 October 1778[1] – 4 February 1826[2]), was a lieutenant colonel in the Honourable East India Company and later Surveyor General of India.

Valentine Blacker
Valentine Blacker.jpg
Born(1778-10-19)19 October 1778
Died4 February 1826(1826-02-04) (aged 47)
Calcutta, British India (now Kolkata)
OccupationMilitary leader, author

Life and careerEdit

Blacker was born in Armagh, Northern Ireland where his family has an ancestral home in the barony of Oneilland East. He obtained a commission in the Madras Cavalry in 1798, was made a cornet in 1799, and aide-de-camp to a Colonel Stevenson in the Wayanad district in 1800, and quartermaster-general in 1810. He served in Deccan, 1817, and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.

Blacker took over from John Hodgson as Surveyor General of India in 1823. In this capacity he made substantial contributions to the ongoing Trigonometrical Survey of India. He was stationed in Calcutta from 1823 until his death there from a fever in 1826. He was buried in South Park Street Cemetery in Calcutta.[3] Andrew Waugh said of him that "Blacker, with the exception of Col Everest, was the ablest and most scientific man that ever presided over this expensive department".[4]


Blacker and his relative William Blacker were both lieutenant-colonels, and both were published authors. Because some of the work was published pseudonymously, the two are sometimes confused or conflated in texts.

His correspondence with his father concerning military and political news, as well as his observations about Indian life and culture, was published in 1798.[5]

Blacker published a history of Maharashtra War, including discussion of the Battle of Khadki, in 1821.[6]


  1. ^ Burke, John (1835). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank, Vol. II. Publisher: R. Bentley for Henry Colburn
  2. ^ Holmes and Co. (Calcutta), The Bengal Obituary: Or, a Record to Perpetuate the Memory of Departed Worth: Being a Compilation of Tablets and Monumental Inscriptions from Various Parts of the Bengal and Agra Presidencies, to which is added Biographical Sketches and Memoirs of Such as have Pre-Eminently Distinguished Themselves in the History of British India, Since the Formation of the European Settlement to the Present Time, London: 1851, W. Thacker, pp. 208-9. Some sources give 1823 or 1827, e.g. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, Volume 1 (1847). His grave marker gives 4 February 1826
  3. ^ Clements Robert Markham, A Memoir on the Indian Surveys (1878), p. 96.
  4. ^ J. R. Smith, Everest: The Man and the Mountain (1999), p. 226.
  5. ^ Blacker, Valientine (1798). Letter Book.
  6. ^ Blacker, Valentine (1821). Memoirs of the operations of the British Army in India during the Mahratta war of 1817, 1818 and 1819. Black, Kingsbury, Parbury, and Allen, 1821