Famous 19th Century Geographers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Richard Francis Burton

Richard Francis Burton.
Famous As: Translator
Birthdate: March 19, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Torquay
Died: October 20, 1890

Richard Francis Burton was a British explorer, soldier, and scholar. He is best remembered for his explorations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Along with John Hanning Speke, Burton was the first European to witness the Great Lakes of Africa. A prolific writer, Burton wrote several scholarly articles about numerous subjects like sexual practices, falconry, human behavior, travel, and ethnography.

 2 Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace.
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanbadoc
Died: November 7, 1913

British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace is largely remembered for his theory of evolution through natural selection, which inspired Charles Darwin’s studies. He began his career as a surveyor’s apprentice and later introduced concepts such as reinforcement in animals, also known as the Wallace effect. He was awarded the Order of Merit.

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 3 Carl O. Sauer

Carl O. Sauer.
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: December 24, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warrenton, Missouri, US
Died: July 18, 1975

 4 George Everest

George Everest.
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: July 4, 1790
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 1, 1866

George Everest was a British geographer and surveyor. From 1830 to 1843, he served as Surveyor General of India. His work and contributions were honored by naming Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, after him.

 5 William Morris Davis

William Morris Davis.
Famous As: Geographer, Geologist, Meteorologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934

 6 Douglas Mawson

Douglas Mawson.
Famous As: Explorer, Geologist
Birthdate: May 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shipley
Died: October 14, 1958

Douglas Mawson was an Australian Antarctic explorer, geologist, and academic. Counted among the most important leaders of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Mawson was honored with a knighthood in 1914. Best remembered for his contribution to Australian geology, Mawson was featured on the Australian one-hundred-dollar note from 1984 to 1996.

 7 Matthew Fontaine Maury

Matthew Fontaine Maury
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: January 14, 1806
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Died: February 1, 1873

American astronomer, naval officer, oceanographer and author Matthew Fontaine Maury, who first served the United States Navy and then the Confederacy States Navy, made significant contributions in oceanography. His book Physical Geography of the Sea is counted among the first comprehensive books on oceanography. Navies and merchant marines across the world adopted his uniform system of recording oceanographic data.

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 8 Peter Aufschnaiter

Peter Aufschnaiter
Famous As: Explorer, Cartographer, Geographer, Rock climber
Birthdate: November 2, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kitzbühel
Died: October 12, 1973

 9 Friedrich Ratzel

Friedrich Ratzel
Famous As: Biologist, Geopolitician, Geographer, Zoologist, Political scientist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: August 9, 1904

 10 Inge Lehmann

Inge Lehmann.
Famous As: Seismologist, Geophysicist
Birthdate: May 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Østerbro, Denmark
Died: February 21, 1993

Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann is remembered for her groundbreaking discovery of the Earth’s solid inner core and molten outer core, using seismic waves. While she initially studied math, she later deviated to seismology, with a focus on ascertaining earthquake epicenters. The William Bowie Medal-winning scientist died at age 104.

 11 Sven Hedin

Sven Hedin.
Famous As: Geographer, Explorer
Birthdate: February 19, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: November 26, 1952

Sven Hedin was a Swedish topographer, geographer, photographer, explorer, illustrator, and travel writer. He is best known for making four expeditions to Central Asia. He later shared his experience in a book titled From Pole to Pole. A respected explorer, Hedin was honored with several prestigious awards and medals during his lifetime.

 12 Elisee Reclus

Elisee Reclus.
Famous As: Geographer, Anarchist, Writer
Birthdate: March 15, 1830
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, France
Died: July 4, 1905

Elisee Reclus was a renowned French geographer, writer, and anarchist best known for his 19-volume masterwork, La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes ("Universal Geography"). He received the Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for this work in 1892. He opposed cruelty to animals and advocated nature conservation. He was also a proponent of naturism. 

 13 Nikolay Przhevalsky

Nikolay Przhevalsky.
Famous As: Geographer, Explorer
Birthdate: April 12, 1839
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Smolensk, Russia
Died: November 1, 1888

Nikolay Przhevalsky was a Russian imperial geographer. A renowned explorer of Central and East Asia, he traveled through regions then unknown to the West. He is credited to have made a substantial contribution to European knowledge of Central Asian geography. However, despite his attempts, he could never reach his ultimate goal, the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet.

 14 Henry Schoolcraft

Henry Schoolcraft
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864

 15 Arnold Henry Guyot

Arnold Henry Guyot
Famous As: Geologist, Geographer
Birthdate: September 28, 1807
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boudevilliers, Switzerland
Died: February 8, 1884

 16 James Rennell

James Rennell
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: December 3, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chudleigh, England
Died: March 29, 1830

James Rennell was an English historian and geographer. A pioneer of oceanography, Rennell is often referred to as the Father of Oceanography. Rennell, who served as a Surveyor General of Bengal, India, is credited with producing some of the earliest accurate maps of Bengal. James Rennell is also credited with co-founding the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1830.

 17 Ferdinand von Richthofen

Ferdinand von Richthofen.
Famous As: Geographer, Traveler, Scientist
Birthdate: May 5, 1833
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carlsruhe, Prussian Silesia
Died: October 6, 1905

Ferdinand von Richthofen, also known as Baron von Richthofen, was a German geographer who discovered quite a few places in and around China, thus contributing to his book China, the Results of My Travels and the Studies Based Thereon. He worked on chorography and chorology and also developed geomorphology.

 18 Ferdinand von Mueller

Ferdinand von Mueller.
Famous As: Botanist and Geographer
Birthdate: June 30, 1825
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rostock, Germany
Died: October 10, 1896

Ferdinand von Mueller was a German-Australian geographer, physician, and botanist. He is credited with founding the National Herbarium of Victoria, the oldest scientific institution in Victoria. He is also credited with naming several Australian plants. Such is his popularity that many plants, animals, journals, and places in Australia are named after him. 

 19 Jedidiah Morse

Jedidiah Morse
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: August 23, 1761
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Woodstock, Connecticut, United States
Died: June 9, 1826

 20 Francisco Moreno

Francisco Moreno.
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Anthropologist, Geographer
Birthdate: May 31, 1852
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: November 22, 1919

Argentine explorer Francisco Moreno, better known as Perito Moreno, is remembered as one of his country’s greatest heroes. His explorations helped define the border of Chile. He discovered Patagonian treasures such as Mount Fitz Roy and established Argentina’s first national park, Nahuel Huapi. His accolades include the Cullum Geographical Medal.

 21 Joseph Nicollet

Joseph Nicollet
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: July 24, 1786
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cluse, France
Died: September 11, 1843

French explorer and mathematician Joseph Nicollet had begun his career as a math teacher at age 19. Faced with financial issues, he later moved to the U.S., where he was financially helped by a wealthy family. His exploration of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers helped him chart maps of the region.

 22 Alexander Dalrymple

Alexander Dalrymple
Famous As: Geographer and hydrographer
Birthdate: July 24, 1737
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Hailes, Scotland
Died: June 19, 1808

 23 Joachim Lelewel

Joachim Lelewel
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 22, 1786
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 29, 1861

 24 Conrad Malte-Brun

Conrad Malte-Brun
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: August 12, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thisted, Denmark
Died: December 14, 1826

 25 Henry Gannett

Henry Gannett.
Famous As: Geographers, Explorers
Birthdate: August 24, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bath, Maine, United States
Died: November 5, 1914

 26 Carl Humann

Carl Humann
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: January 4, 1839
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Essen, Germany
Died: April 12, 1896

 27 Gerhard Rohlfs

Gerhard Rohlfs
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: April 14, 1831
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vegesack, Germany
Died: June 2, 1896

 28 Aaron Arrowsmith

Aaron Arrowsmith
Famous As: Cartographer
Birthdate: July 14, 1750
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Winston, England
Died: April 23, 1823

Aaron Arrowsmith was an English cartographer, publisher, and engraver. Aaron, who belonged to the famous Arrowsmith family of geographers, is best remembered for producing the maps of Scotland and North America, which are counted among his most celebrated productions.

 29 Arnaud-Michel d'Abbadie

Arnaud-Michel d'Abbadie
Famous As: Geographers
Birthdate: July 24, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 13, 1893

 30 Henri Duveyrier

Henri Duveyrier
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: February 28, 1840
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 25, 1892

 31 Friedrich Benjamin von Lütke

Friedrich Benjamin von Lütke
Famous As: Navigator
Birthdate: September 28, 1797
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 20, 1882

 32 Charles Tilstone Beke

Charles Tilstone Beke
Famous As: Travler
Birthdate: October 10, 1800
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stepney, England
Died: July 31, 1874

Charles Tilstone Beke was an English geographer, traveler, and Biblical critic. He is best remembered for his book Origines Biblicae or Researches in Primeval History, which attempts to recreate mankind's early history with the help of geological data. Although the book did not impress religious leaders and supporters of the Book of Genesis, Beke's work was appreciated by many scholars.

 33 James Croll

James Croll
Famous As: Geographer, Geologist
Birthdate: January 2, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Little Whitefield, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: December 15, 1890