An organization founded in 1823 by a group led by the Sanskrit scholar Henry Colebrooke. He had worked in south Asia and wished to pursue the objectives set out in the Society's Royal Charter of 1824, namely ‘the investigation of subjects connected with, and for the encouragement of, science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia’. During the 19th century the RAS was the main centre in Britain for scholarly work on Asia and had many distinguished Fellows including the Duke of Wellington, Rabindranath Tagore, Sir Henry Rawlinson, and Sir Richard Burton. The Society has some 700 members, half of whom are based outside Britain. The Society is run by a Council of around twenty elected Fellows. It currently has a staff of seven, some of whom work part time. Over the years a number of societies with similar purposes and programmes have been established in South Asia, Hong Kong, Japan.Korea.Malaysia, and Thailand.and have been recognized as associates of the Royal Asiatic Society. Members of these societies are entitled to attend lectures and use the library while in London temporarily, and to join as subscribing Fellows without other sponsorship. The Society lists its main activities as: publishing the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society; providing access to the Society's extensive collection of books, historic documents, paintings and artefacts, and promoting research into its holdings; arranging a programme of lectures and seminars; publishing books and monographs on Asian subjects; organizing conferences and exhibitions; and making awards to recognize achievements in the field.