Famous 19th Century Geographers

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 1 
Peter Kropotkin
(Anarchist, Socialist & Historian)
Peter Kropotkin
6
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

 2 
Halford Mackinder
(British Geographer, Academic and One of the Founding Fathers of Both 'Geopolitics' and 'Geostrategy')
Halford Mackinder
5
Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gainsborough, England
Died: March 6, 1947

Halford Mackinder was an English geographer, politician, and academic. He is considered one of the founding fathers of geostrategy as well as geopolitics. Mackinder’s work helped establish geography as a separate discipline in the UK. An influential academic, Halford Mackinder held important positions in popular universities, including the University Extension College and the London School of Economics.

 3 
Richard Francis Burton
4
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.

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 4 
Alfred Russel Wallace
(Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist)
Alfred Russel Wallace
11
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.

 5 
George Everest
(British Surveyor and Geographer Who Served as Surveyor General of India From 1830 to 1843)
George Everest
3
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.

 6 
Carl O. Sauer
(American Geographer Who Has been Called 'the Dean of American Historical Geography')
Carl O. Sauer
3
Birthdate: December 24, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warrenton, Missouri, US
Died: July 18, 1975

Carl O. Sauer was an American geographer best remembered for his association with the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a professor of geography from 1923 to 1957. Over the course of his career, Carl O. Sauer was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Charles P. Daly Medal, Alexander von Humboldt Medal, and Victoria Medal.

 7 
William Morris Davis
(American Geographer, Geologist. Meteorologist, and Geomorphologist)
William Morris Davis
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934

William Morris Davis was an American geologist, geographer, meteorologist, and geomorphologist. Often referred to as the father of American geography, Davis is credited with founding the Association of American Geographers. He is also remembered for his association with the Geological Society of America, where he served as the president. In 1919, he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal.

 8 
Douglas Mawson
(Explorer, Geologist)
Douglas Mawson
3
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.

 9 
Paul Vidal de La Blache
(French Geographer Who Pioneered Modern French Geography)
Paul Vidal de La Blache
4
Birthdate: January 22, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pézenas, France
Died: April 5, 1918
 10 
Ellen Churchill Semple
(American Geographer Who Made Immense Contributions to the Development of Geography as Discipline in the US)
Ellen Churchill Semple
4
Birthdate: January 8, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: May 8, 1932

Ellen Churchill Semple was an American geographer best remembered for her association with the Association of American Geographers, where she served as the first female president. Semple made immense contributions to the development of geography as discipline in the US, especially studies of human geography. In 1914, Semple was honored by the American Geographical Society with the Cullum Geographic Medal.

 11 
Peter Aufschnaiter
(Austrian Agricultural Scientist Who was in Tibet for Seven Years as a Fugitive During Second World War)
Peter Aufschnaiter
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kitzbühel
Died: October 12, 1973

Peter Aufschnaiter was an Austrian agricultural scientist, mountaineer, cartographer, and geographer. His experiences in Tibet during the Second World War with fellow climber Heinrich Harrer were portrayed in the 1997 biographical war drama film, Seven Years in Tibet. Peter Aufschnaiter played a prominent role in Tibet, where he helped plan a sewage system and a hydroelectric power plant in Lhasa.

 12 
Patrick Geddes
(Scottish Biologist, Sociologist and Pioneering Town Planner Who Coined the Term 'Conurbation')
Patrick Geddes
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 17, 1932

Apart from being a sociologist and biologist, Patrick Geddes was known for his impeccable sense of town planning. While he initially taught botany in Dundee, he later turned to sociology and conducted studies in India, Mexico, and other countries. He was eventually knighted for his achievements.

 13 
Friedrich Ratzel
(Biologist, Geopolitician, Geographer, Zoologist, Political scientist, University teacher)
Friedrich Ratzel
5
Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: August 9, 1904

Friedrich Ratzel was a German ethnographer and geographer. He was the first person to use the term Lebensraum, which would later become an important and popular word among the National Socialists. Also an influential writer, Friedrich Ratzel's works served as a justification for imperial expansion. 

 14 
Elisee Reclus
(Geographer, Anarchist, Writer)
Elisee Reclus
3
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. 

 15 
Sven Hedin
(Swedish Geographer, Topographer and Explorer Who Published Books About His Travels All Over Asia and the Middle East)
Sven Hedin
3
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.

 16 
Nikolay Przhevalsky
(Geographer, Explorer)
Nikolay Przhevalsky
2
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.

 17 
James Rennell
(British Geographer, Historian and a Pioneer of Oceanography)
James Rennell
2
Birthdate: December 3, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chudleigh, Devon, 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.

 18 
Henry Schoolcraft
(American Geologist, Geographer, and Ethnologist Who is Known for His Studies of Native American Cultures)
Henry Schoolcraft
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864

Henry Schoolcraft was an American geologist, geographer, and ethnologist. He is best remembered for his studies of Native American cultures. Henry Schoolcraft is also credited with founding The Journal of Education, America's first journal on public education.

 19 
Ernst Georg Ravenstein
2
Birthdate: December 30, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 13, 1913

Ernst Georg Ravenstein was a German-English cartographer and geographer. His efforts to introduce scientific methods in cartography in the United Kingdom earned him the first Victoria gold medal from the Royal Geographical Society. Ernst Georg Ravenstein is also credited with establishing a sporting association in London called the German Gymnastics Society in 1861.     

 20 
Arnold Henry Guyot
(Geologist, Geographer)
Arnold Henry Guyot
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1807
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boudevilliers, Switzerland
Died: February 8, 1884
 21 
Ferdinand von Mueller
(German-Australian Botanist Who Founded the National Herbarium of Victoria and Named Many Australian Plants)
Ferdinand von Mueller
2
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. 

 22 
Ferdinand von Richthofen
(German Geographer and Scientist Known for Coining the Terms ‘Silk Road’ or ‘Silk Route')
Ferdinand von Richthofen
2
Birthdate: May 5, 1833
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pokój, Poland
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.

 23 
Roland Bonaparte
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1858
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1924

Roland Bonaparte was the grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, who was the brother of Emperor Napoleon I. A geographer and photographer, he was part of the research on the Sami community of Norway and the Australian Aborigines. He also headed the Société de Géographie and the Société Astronomique de France.

 24 
Vasily Dokuchaev
(Russian Ecologist and Geologist Who Conducted Path-Breaking Research on Soil Science)
Vasily Dokuchaev
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1846
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milyukovo, Russia
Died: November 8, 1903
 25 
Jedidiah Morse
(American Geographer Whose Textbooks Became Primary Study Materials for Students in the US)
Jedidiah Morse
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1761
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Woodstock, Connecticut, United States
Died: June 9, 1826

Jedidiah Morse was a geographer best remembered for his textbooks, which became primary study materials for students in the US. His textbooks earned him the nickname father of American geography. Jedidiah Morse also served as a teacher and pastor during his illustrious career.

 26 
James Croll
(Geographer, Geologist)
James Croll
1
Birthdate: January 2, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Little Whitefield, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: December 15, 1890
 27 
Ellsworth Huntington
(American Geographer Who is Best Remembered for His Studies on Economic Geography)
Ellsworth Huntington
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Galesburg, Illinois, United States
Died: October 17, 1947

Ellsworth Huntington was an American educator who worked at Yale University as a professor of geography during the early 20th century. He is best remembered for his studies on economic geography, environmental determinism, economic growth, and scientific racism. Ellsworth Huntington also served as the president of the Association of American Geographers as well as the Ecological Society of America.

 28 
Francisco Moreno
(Naturalist, Explorer, Anthropologist, Geographer)
Francisco Moreno
4
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.

 29 
Joseph Nicollet
(French Geographer, Astronomer and Mathematician Known for Mapping the 'Upper Mississippi River' Basin During the 1830s)
Joseph Nicollet
2
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.

 30 
Alexander Dalrymple
(Geographer and hydrographer)
Alexander Dalrymple
2
Birthdate: July 24, 1737
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Hailes, Scotland
Died: June 19, 1808
 31 
Lev Berg
(Russian Biologist and Geographer Known for His Own Evolutionary Theory Called 'Nomogenesis')
Lev Berg
1
Birthdate: March 14, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bender, Moldova
Died: December 24, 1950

Russian geographer and zoologist Lev Berg served the Soviet Geographical Society as its president and laid down his own theory of evolution, nomogenesis, as an alternative to Darwin’s theory. Remembered for his pioneering research on limnology and ichthyology, he also contributed to the domain of zoogeography.

 32 
Isaiah Bowman
(American Geographer Who Served as President of the Johns Hopkins University from 1935 to 1948)
Isaiah Bowman
1
Birthdate: December 26, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Waterloo, Canada
Died: January 6, 1950

Isaiah Bowman was an American geographer best remembered for his service as the president of the Johns Hopkins University from 1935 to 1948. He is also remembered for his association with the American Geographical Society, where he served as its founding director. Isaiah Bowman also earned notoriety for his anti-Semitism during the Second World War.

 33 
Erich von Drygalski
(German Geographer Famous for His Expedition to Unknown Parts of Antarctica Aboard the 'Vessel Gauss')
Erich von Drygalski
1
Birthdate: February 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Russia
Died: January 10, 1949

Erich von Drygalski was a German geographer, polar scientist, and geophysicist. He is best remembered for leading two expeditions to explore the unexplored area of Antarctica in the early 1890s with the help of the Society for Geoscience of Berlin. Erich von Drygalski also served as a professor of geophysics and geography in Berlin.

 34 
Alfred Hettner
(Geographer)
Alfred Hettner
1
Birthdate: August 6, 1859
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: August 31, 1941
 35 
Conrad Malte-Brun
(French Geographer Famous for Coining the Name for the Geographic Region 'Oceania')
Conrad Malte-Brun
1
Birthdate: August 12, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thisted, Denmark
Died: December 14, 1826

Conrad Malte-Brun was a Dano-French journalist and geographer. Malte-Brun is best remembered for coining the name Indo-China as well as the name Oceania, a geographic region that includes Melanesia, Micronesia, Australasia, and Polynesia, around 1812. Conrad Malte-Brun is also known as the father of Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun, who was also a famous geographer.

 36 
Henry Gannett
(American Geographer Who is Known as the 'Father of Mapmaking in America')
Henry Gannett
1
Birthdate: August 24, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bath, Maine, United States
Died: November 5, 1914

Henry Gannett was an American geographer best remembered for his association with the United States Geological Survey, where he served as the chief geographer from its founding until 1902. Nicknamed the father of mapmaking in America, Henry Gannett is also known as a founding member of the National Geographic Society, where he served as president.

 37 
John George Bartholomew
1
Birthdate: March 22, 1860
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: April 14, 1920
Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore
1
Birthdate: October 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clinton, Iowa, United States
Died: November 3, 1928
 39 
Albrecht Penck
(German Geographer and Geologist)
Albrecht Penck
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1858
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: March 7, 1945

German geographer and geologist Albrecht Penck is noted for exercising a major influence on the development of modern German geography and also for his research that confirmed the four ice ages of the European Pleistocene (Gunz, Mindel, Riss, Würm). He co-authored Die Alpen im Eiszeitalter with Eduard Bruckner, which served as a standard reference on the ice ages for many decades.

 40 
Gerhard Rohlfs
(Explorer)
Gerhard Rohlfs
1
Birthdate: April 14, 1831
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vegesack, Germany
Died: June 2, 1896

Being the son of a physician, geographer Gerhard Rohlfs was expected to take up medicine but was more interested in exploring uncharted territories and thus joined the French Foreign Legion. Best known for his journeys across North Africa, he had initially learned Arabic to travel to Morocco disguised as an Arab.

 41 
Zamfir Arbore
(Political activist)
Zamfir Arbore
1
Birthdate: November 14, 1848
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Died: April 2, 1933
Luigi Robecchi-Bricchetti
1
Birthdate: May 21, 1855
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pavia, Italy
Died: May 31, 1926

Italian explorer Luigi Robecchi-Bricchetti was the first person from Europe to cross the Somali peninsula. An illegitimate son of a landowner, he was raised by his mother. Initially interested in civil engineering, he later deviated toward geography and geology, even learning languages such as Arabic and German.

 43 
Fritz Graebner
(German Geographer and Ethnologist Best Known for His Development of the Theory of 'Kulturkreis')
Fritz Graebner
1
Birthdate: March 4, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 13, 1934

German ethnologist Robert Fritz Graebner is known as a pioneering figure of the Vienna School of Ethnology and promoted the theory of Kulturkreise, or culture complex. During World War I, he was interned in Australia as an enemy but utilized his time in studying the different types of culture there.

 44 
Arnaud-Michel d'Abbadie
(Irish-born French Geographer Who Explored Ethiopia with His Brother)
Arnaud-Michel d'Abbadie
1
Birthdate: July 24, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 13, 1893
 45 
Aaron Arrowsmith
(British Cartographer, Engraver and Founding Member of the 'Arrowsmith Family' of Geographers)
Aaron Arrowsmith
1
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.

 46 
Friedrich Benjamin von Lütke
(German-Russian Geographer and Navigator Who Was Known for His Arctic Explorations)
Friedrich Benjamin von Lütke
0
Birthdate: September 28, 1797
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 20, 1882
 47 
Henri Duveyrier
(French Geographer and Explorer Who Explored the Sahara Region)
Henri Duveyrier
0
Birthdate: February 28, 1840
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 25, 1892
 48 
Charles Tilstone Beke
(British Geographer and Explorer)
Charles Tilstone Beke
0
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.

 49 
Siegfried Passarge
(Geographer)
Siegfried Passarge
0
Birthdate: November 28, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: July 26, 1958

Born to renowned travel writer Ludwig Passarge, Siegfried Passarge was naturally interested in geography and studied the subject in Jena and Berlin. Initially a military physician, he later became a geologist and surveyor and eventually a professor. Known for his research on southern Africa, he also pioneered racial geography.

 50 
Arnaldo Faustini
(Geographer)
Arnaldo Faustini
0
Birthdate: 1872 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: 1944 AD