Sir Paul Rycaut (1628–1700) was a British diplomat, author and traveler. Rycaut served as secretary to the British Embassy at Constantinople. Afterward, he served as consul to the Levant Company in Smyrna, Turkey. He was the English ambassador to Hamburg. Rycaut was a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Rycaut was born in November or December of 1628 in Aylesford, Kent. His parents were Peter and Mary Rycaut. His father, Peter Rycaut, was originally from Spain and was a representative in London for the King of Spain. He had also loaned the king money during his war with Holland. Because of this he was exiled from England by Cromwell and lost all his property.
Rycaut's mother, Mary van der Colge, was the daughter of silk merchant from Spitalfields whose father had fled Belgium as a result of the persecution of Protestants by the Spanish. Mary was born in London, United Kingdom and was a member of the Huguenot Society in London. Rycaut learned Greek and Latin probably while still in grammar school in Kent. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1650. In 1652, he was admitted to Gray's Inn.
When Rycaut traveled to Spain to ask Philip IV of Spain for repayment of his father's loans, the king received him warmly. The king arranged for Rycaut to attend the University of Alcalá free of charge. In 1659, Rycaut became the private secretary to Heneage Finch who was the Levant Company ambassador to Constantinople. While there Rycaut learned Turkish and began writing his book The Present State of the Ottoman Empire. He returned to England in 1665.
Rycaut was sent to Smyrna in 1667 as the agent of the Levant Company where he spent 11 years. On his return to England in 1778 he became private secretary to King William III of England for two years. He was then appointed as ambassador to Hamburg. He was knighted in 1685. On March 28, 1700 he returned to London. On November 9 that same year he suffered a heart attack. Rycaut died on November 16, 1700.
- The present state of the Ottoman Empire (1667–1995), English language.
- The present state of the Greek and Armenian churches, anno Christi 1678 (1676–1970), six languages.
- The present state of the Ottoman Empire : containing the maxims of the Turkish polity, the most material points of the Mahometan religion, their sects and heresies, their convents and religious votaries, their military discipline : with an exact computation of their forces both by sea and land (1675–1978), in English.
- The history of the Turkish empire from the year 1623 to the year 1677 : containing the reigns of the three last emperours, viz., Sultan Morat or Amurat IV, Sultan Ibrahim, and Sultan Mahomet IV, his son, the XIII emperour now reigning (1680–1972), in English.
- Istoria dello stato presente dell' imperio Ottomano ... (1670–1988), in nine languages.
- The history of the present state of the Ottoman Empire : containing the maxims of the Turkish polity, the most material points of the Mahometan religion, their sects and heresies, their convents and religious votaries, their military discipline (1675–1686), in English.
- The original papers and letters, relating to the Scots Company, trading to Africa and the Indies: from the memorial given in against their taking subscriptions at Hamburgh (1700–1977), in English.
- Baltasar Gracián; Sir Paul Rycaut, El Criticón (The Critic). Published in English in 10 editions (1681–1987).
- Platina; Sir Paul Rycaut, The lives of the popes: from the time of our saviour Jesus Christ, to the reign of Sixtus IV, 20 editions (20 editions, 1685–1978), in English.
- Garcilaso de la Vega; Sir Paul Rycaut, Royal commentaries of the Incas, and general history of Peru (published in 28 editions 1688–1987), in English.
- "Paul Rycaut (1628—1700) diplomat and author". Oxford Reference. Oxford University Press. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- David Thomas; John A Chesworth, Christian-Muslim Relations; A Bibliographical History Volume 8 (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 411–412
- "Rycaut, Paul Sir 1628-1700". WorldCat Identities. Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- "Baltasar Gracián. Complete Works". Studiolum. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- "Paul Rycaut", The Royal Society
- "Ottoman Politics Through British Eyes: Paul Rycaut's the Present State of the Ottoman Empire", Journal of World History, Linda T. Darling, Vol. 5, 1994
- "Sir Paul Rycaut's Memoranda and Letters from Ireland 1686-1687", Analecta Hibernica, Patrick Melvin and Paul Rycaut, No. 27 (1972), pp. 123, 125-199