Postcards From Komodo National Park in the Mid-1920s

The rocky coast of Komodo Island, Circa 1926 – The world is getting smaller every year. Komodo dragons were first documented by Europeans in 1910, when rumors of a “land crocodile” reached Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek of the Dutch colonial administration.

Widespread notoriety came after 1912, when Peter Ouwens, the director of the Zoological Museum at Bogor, West Java, published a paper on the topic after receiving a photo and a skin from the lieutenant, as well as two other specimens from a collector.

W. Douglas Burden (left) with F. J. Defosse on the Island of Komodo, 1926 (Image courtesy of

In the mid-1920s, hearing this news. W. Douglas Burden felt the call of the wild. As an independently wealthy explorer and a trustee at the American Museum of Natural History. He was always on the lookout for adventure.

Mr, Mrs, and home W. Douglas Burden at Komodo Islands 1926 (Image courtesy of Putnam’s Sons, New York)

Komodo Dragon (Image courtesy of Mrs. Burden)

With the backing of the American Museum of Natural History, Burden organized an expedition in 1926, promising to return from Komodo with a living dragon.  Assisted by a herpetologist, a cameraman, his wife, and 15 local workers, Burden found the giant monitor lizards (measuring up to ten feet in length) and brought two back for exhibition at the Bronx Zoo.  Unable to adjust to their new environment and life in captivity, the Komodo dragons died behind bars.

Dragon Lizards of Komodo (Image courtesy of W. Douglas Burden)

“Stalking the Dragon Lizard on the Island of Komodo” by W. Douglas Burden, The National Geographic Magazine, August 1927

Later, this expedition provided the inspiration for the 1933 movie King Kong. It was also Burden who coined the common name “Komodo dragon”. Three of his specimens were stuffed and are still on display in the American Museum of Natural History.

Komodo Dragon is truly the only living Dragon on earth. So, here are 13 Tips in Exploring Komodo National Park

Happy Green Travels!

Follow us on Twitter @TravelJunkieID & like us on Facebook.