(born Feb. 22, 1857, London, Eng.—died Jan. 8, 1941, Nyeri, Kenya) British army officer and founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides (later Girl Scouts; see scouting). He was noted for his use of observation balloons in warfare in Africa (1884–85). In the South African War, he became a national hero in the Siege of Mafikeng. Having learned that his military textbook Aids to Scouting (1899) was being used to train boys in woodcraft, he wrote Scouting for Boys (1908) and that same year established the Boy Scout movement. In 1910, with his sister Agnes and his wife, Olave, he founded the Girl Guides.
Learn more about Baden-Powell (of Gilwell), Robert Stephenson Smyth, 1st Baron with a free trial on Britannica.com.