Geography

On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On August 3, 1804 geographer, naturalist, and explorer Alexander von Humboldt returned home from his great South America scientific discovery journey. “I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves”. – Alexander von Humboldt Actually, Humboldt did not make this journey all alone. He had a companion, Aimé Bonpland. But today,…
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“Because it’s there” – George Mallory and Mount Everest

“Because it’s there” – George Mallory and Mount Everest

“Why would you want to climb Mount Everest?” George Mallory was asked this question in 1924 and gave the most obvious answer: “Because it’s there“. The famous mountaineer was born on June 18, 1886, and is best known for his expeditions to the highest mountain on earth. George Mallory came from relatively simple backgrounds. His father Leigh Mallory was vicar of Mobberley, a large and prosperous community not far from Manchester. Growing up…
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Sir George Everest and his Trigonometric Survey of India

Sir George Everest and his Trigonometric Survey of India

On July 4, 1790, Welsh military engineer and geodesist Sir George Everest was born. Everest was the Surveyor General of India from 1830 through 1843, providing the accurate mapping of the subcontinent. For more than twenty-five years and despite numerous hardships, he surveyed the longest arc of the meridian ever accomplished at the time. In 1865, Mount Everest was named in his honour in the English language, despite his objections, by the…
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The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

On May 17, 1673, French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit priest and missionary Jacques Marquette departed from St. Ignace Michigan with two canoes and five other voyageurs to explore the Upper Mississippi. While Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its entrance in 1541 on his expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States [1], Jolliet…
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Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen and the Silk Road

Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen and the Silk Road

On May 5, 1833, German traveller, geographer, and scientist Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen was born. Von Richthofen is noted for coining the terms “Seidenstraße” and “Seidenstraßen” = “Silk Road(s)” or “Silk Route(s)” in 1877. He also standardized the practices of chorography and chorology. Ferdinand von Richthofen was born in Carlsruhe, Prussian Silesia, to Karl Richthofen and his wife Ferdinande. He attended the Catholic Gymnasium in Breslau (today Wroclaw) to complete his secondary…
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Édouard-Gaston Deville and the Perfection of Photogrammetry

Édouard-Gaston Deville and the Perfection of Photogrammetry

On February 21, 1849, French-Canadian surveyor Édouard-Gaston Deville was born. Deville perfected the first practical method of photogrammetry, the making of maps based on photography. Édouard-Gaston Deville served in the French navy and conducted hydrographic surveys in the South Sea islands and Peru. In 1874, he moved to Canada. one year later, Deville became surveyor and astronomer in Quebec and was soon appointed the province’s top surveyor, Inspector of Surveys. Édouard-Gaston Deville was designated…
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John Hanning Speke and the Source of the Nile

John Hanning Speke and the Source of the Nile

On September 15, 1864, British explorer and army officer John Hanning Speke died by accident with a shot gun. Speke is most associated with the search for the source of the Nile and was in fact the first European that reached Lake Victoria and as such is the “discoverer of the source of the Nile“. Speke was born on 4 May 1827 at Orleigh Court, Buckland Brewer near Bideford, North Devon, UK, as…
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Charles Wyville Thomson and the Challenger Expedition

Charles Wyville Thomson and the Challenger Expedition

  On March 5, 1830, Scottish natural historian and marine zoologist Charles Wyville Thomson was born. Thomson served as the chief scientist on the famous Challenger expedition surveying and exploring the oceans for more than 130.000km between 1872 and 1876. Thomson‘s work there revolutionized oceanography. Thomson was born at Bonsyde, in Linlithgow, West Lothian, the son of Andrew Thomson, a surgeon in the service of the East India Company. He was educated…
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Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

On July 24, 1786, French geographer, astronomer, and mathematician Joseph Nicolas Nicollet was born. He is best known for mapping the Upper Mississippi River basin during the 1830s. Nicollet’s maps were among the most accurate of the time and they provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the American interior Jean-Nicolas Nicollet was born in Cluses, Savoy, France. He was very bright, showing aptitude in mathematics and astronomy that earned him a scholarship to…
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The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

On June 11, 1871, the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 led by geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden began, which explored the region of northwestern Wyoming that later became Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden graduated from the Albany Medical College in 1853. There he got to know the state geologist of New York, who highly influenced him to join in an exploration of Nebraska Territory, with Fielding Meek in order to study…
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