Who is Alexander von Humboldt?December 13, 2020
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt, (September 14, 1769, Berlin – May 6, 1859, Berlin), Prussian naturalist and explorer. Younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt. Humboldt’s studies on botanical geography formed the basis of the biogeography branch.
Von Humboldt, who traveled to South and Central America between 1799 and 1804, became the first scientist to describe the continent scientifically as a result of expeditions. He collected what he encountered during his 21 years of travels in a gigantic work. Humboldt was the first to argue that the landmass (especially South America and Africa) on both shores of the Atlantic Ocean were once united. In his work named Kosmos, written in the last period of his life, he tried to combine various branches of science that gathered information on the world. Humboldt has worked with and supported many scientists, including Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac, Justus von Liebig, Louis Agassiz and Matthew Fontaine Maury.
Early life and education
Von Humboldt’s father, a major in the Prussian army, belonged to one of the prominent families of Pomerania, and was rewarded with the post of royal minister in return for his services in the Seven Years’ War. After marrying Baron von Hollwede’s widow, Maria Elizabeth von Colomb in 1766, she had two sons. The smaller of these is Alexander.
Alexander von Humboldt’s childhood was not very promising, neither in terms of health nor intelligence. Nevertheless, its unique features have emerged in a short time. He was called the “little pharmacist” because he collected and labeled plants, crustaceans, and insects. After the unexpected death of his father in 1779, he continued his education with the appropriate decisions of his mother. He studied finance at the University of Frankfurt for six months for a political career, and a year later enrolled at the University of Göttingen on 25 April 1789, famous for the lectures taught by Christian Gottlob Heine and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. His interest and talent in various fields was so developed that he was named “Mineralogische Beobachtungen über einige Basalte am Rhein” (mineralogical observations on some Basalt rocks in the Rhine) after a trip to the Rhine during a vacation in 1789 (Brunswick, 1790). wrote the work.
His passion for travel was intensified by the friendship he made in Göttingen with Heyne’s son-in-law Georg Foster, who was with Captain James Cook on his second voyage. His work and his rare personal talents now set out to prepare himself as a scientific explorer with an extraordinary understanding. With this in mind, he continued his education on trade and foreign languages in Hamburg, geography with Abraham Gottlob Werner in Freiberg, anatomy with Justus Christian Loder in Jena, astronomy and the use of scientific instruments with Franz Xaver von Zach and Johann Gottfried Koehler. As a result of his studies on the vegetation in Freiberg mines, he published his work “Florae Fribergensis Specimen” (Specimens from the Flora of Fribergen) in 1793. As a result of his long-term experiments on the phenomenon of muscular responsiveness, which was newly discovered by Luigi Galvani, he published his work “Muskel- und Nervenfaser” (Studies on the responsiveness of muscles and nerve fibers) in Berlin in 1797.
Journeys and Studies in Europe
He joined the famous Weimar fellowship in 1794, and in June 1795 he wrote a philosophical allegory called Die Lebenskraft, oder der rhodische Genius for Friedrich Schiller’s new journal Die Horen. In the summer of 1790 he went to England for a short time with Georg Foster. He was found in Vienna between 1792 and 1797. In 1795 he made a trip to Switzerland and Italy where he was interested in geology and botany. Meanwhile, on February 29, 1792, he was appointed to an official post as a mining tax assessor in Berlin. Although he saw this duty for the state as an apprenticeship solely to serve science, he fulfilled his responsibilities with such a striking talent that in a short time he not only became head of his department but also took on important diplomatic duties. The death of her mother on November 19, 1796 paved the way for her to pursue her genius. Distancing himself from his official duties, he began to wait for an opportunity to fulfill his dream of going to the distant lands he had been in for so long.
South Africa Campaign
Upon the postponement of the world journey of Nicolas Baudin, to whom he was officially invited to participate, he left Paris to Marseille with Aimé Bonpland, the botanist of the delayed expedition, to join Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt. While striving to reach Egypt, their way crosses to Madrid and unexpectedly they decide to go to Spanish America for exploration under the patronage of minister Don Mariano Luis de Urquijo.
Together with important letters of recommendation, they sailed on the ship Pizarro from A Coruña on June 5, 1799. To Teide