Geographers

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A geographer is someone who is specialized in the study of geography, which includes the study of the earth, its properties and the distribution of life on the various parts of the planet. A geographer analyses the effects of geography and its impact on human lives across continents in the world. An expert who is proficient and well versed in the field of geographical research and delineations, a geographer studies topography, climate, soil, vegetation and earth surface structure among many other features. A geographer may be employed in various sectors like disaster management, city and country planning, community development, environment management, agricultural sector and construction industry among many others. Geographers are also involved in the research and study of human activity and their relationship with the natural environment around them. They employ and make use of a variety of techniques in order to assess and study about the various aspects of geography that affect and have a significant impact on the lives of human beings and animals. Geographers may be physical geographers or human geographers among many other types of geographers. Discover some of the most fascinating facts about world famous geographers by reading their detailed biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 
Eratosthenes
(First Person to Calculate the Circumference of the Earth and Earth's Axial Tilt)
Eratosthenes
14
Birthdate: 0276 BC
Birthplace: Cyrene, Libya, Shahat, Libya
Died: 0194 BC

Greek polymath Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a mathematician, poet, geographer, music theorist, and astronomer. He also served as the Library of Alexandria’s chief librarian. He was also the first to calculate the Earth’s circumference and the tilt of the Earth's axis. Nicknamed Pentathlos, he also invented many scientific terms.

 2 
Claudius Ptolemy
(Astronomer, Cartographer & Mathematician)
Claudius Ptolemy
14
Birthdate: 0090 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0168 AD
Claudius Ptolemy was a 2nd-century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and geographer, who had written a number of scientific treatises, such as The Great Treatise, Geography, and the Tetrábiblos. He lived in Alexandria under the Roman rule in Egypt. He had also authored Harmonics, a book on music theory.
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī
6
Birthdate: 0780 AD
Birthplace: Khwarazm, Uzbekistan
Died: 0850 AD

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a Persian polymath credited with producing influential works in the fields of geography, astronomy, and mathematics. He is referred to as the founder or father of algebra as he was the first person to recognize algebra as an independent discipline. He also made significant contributions to trigonometry; he produced precise sine and cosine tables.

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Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī
4
Birthdate: 0973 AD
Birthplace: Beruni, Uzbekistan
Died: 1050 AD

Apart from being a pioneer of Indology and geodesy, Persian scholar Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī also worked on subjects such as anthropology, math, and ethnography. It is believed he didn’t know his father. He had penned many works, such as the encyclopaedic volume The Chronology of Ancient Nations.

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 5 
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. 

 6 
Muhammad al-Idrisi
(Cartographer, Geographer)
Muhammad al-Idrisi
3
Birthdate: 1100 AD
Birthplace: Ceuta, Spain
Died: 1165 AD

Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi created over 70 maps. Born in Ceuta, he spent much of his early life traveling around regions of North Africa, Western Europe, and Asia Minor. Advisor to Sicilian king Roger II, he created the Tabula Rogeriana, one of the most detailed maps of the world.

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 7 
David Harvey
(Professor of Anthropology & Geography)
David Harvey
7
Birthdate: October 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gillingham, Kent, England

David Harvey is a  Marxist economic geographer, podcaster, and a fellow of the British Academy. He is currently a distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has authored many books and essays and is one of the most cited authors of books in the humanities and social sciences.   

 8 
Abraham Ortelius
(Flemish Cartographer Who Created the World's First Modern Atlas)
Abraham Ortelius
5
Birthdate: April 14, 1527
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Antwerp
Died: June 28, 1598

Flemish cartographer of the 16th century, Abraham Ortelius is remembered as the person who created Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the world’s first modern atlas. Starting his career as an engraver, he later switched to map-making. He also served as Spanish king Philip II’s official geographer and proposed the idea of continental drift.

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 9 
Alexander von Humboldt
19
Birthdate: September 14, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: May 6, 1859

As a child, Alexander von Humboldt was sickly and a bad student. After failing to shine in economics and engineering, he grew up to revolutionize the domain of geography. He is remembered for his research on magnetic storms and his treatise on nature, Kosmos. He also spoke about climate change.

 10 
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.

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 11 
Strabo
(Geographer, Philosopher, Historian)
Strabo
10
Birthdate: 0064 BC
Birthplace: Amaseia, Pontus , (modern-day Amasya; Turkey)
Died: 0024 AD

Strabo was a Greek philosopher, geographer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work Geographica, an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge. Written in Greek during Strabo's time, Geographica holds great historical significance as it houses a descriptive history of places and people from different regions. Among his descriptions were places like the city of Alexandria and India.

 12 
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.

 13 
Carl Ritter
(Co-founder of Modern Geography)
Carl Ritter
3
Birthdate: August 7, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Quedlinburg, Germany
Died: September 28, 1859

Carl Ritter was a German geographer considered one of the founders of modern geography. He taught history at the University of Berlin and was one of the mentors of the explorer Heinrich Barth, who traveled in Northern and Western Africa. A prolific researcher and writer, Ritter produced a staggering amount of geographical literature in his lifetime. 

 14 
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.

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 15 
Hipparchus
(Astronomer & Mathematician)
Hipparchus
6
Birthdate: 0190 BC
Birthplace: Nicaea, Kingdom of Bithynia
Died: 0120 BC
In his early years in Bithynia, Hipparchus spent most of his time compiling weather records. He devoted almost his entire life to astronomical research. Remembered as the man who founded trigonometry, he also discovered the precession of the equinoxes. However, most of his written work hasn’t survived.
 16 
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.

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 17 
James Lovelock
(Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer)
James Lovelock
5
Birthdate: July 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Letchworth

Renowned James Lovelock is best known for propagating the Gaia hypothesis, which states that every living being on planet Earth is part of a single self-regulating superorganism. He is also known for his long association with NIMR, London, and Harvard University and has over 50 patents under his name.

 18 
Gerardus Mercator
(Geographer)
Gerardus Mercator
5
Birthdate: March 5, 1512
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rupelmonde, Kruibeke, Belgium
Died: December 2, 1594

Son of a shoemaker, Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator was initially supposed to be a priest. His 1569 world map paved the path for the Mercator projection, which helped people ascertain the exact ratio of latitude and longitude of a particular place. He also coined the term “atlas.”

 19 
Carl O. Sauer
(Geographer)
Carl O. Sauer
3
Birthdate: December 24, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warrenton, Missouri, US
Died: July 18, 1975
 20 
Charles Lyell
6
Birthdate: November 14, 1797
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Angus
Died: February 22, 1875

Charles Lyell was a Scottish geologist best remembered for his work Principles of Geology, which explains the origin of the earth. He is also remembered for his pioneering explanation of climate change. A close friend of Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell is also credited with influencing many of Darwin's works pertaining to the theories of evolution.  

 21 
Pytheas
(Geographer, Explorer)
Pytheas
3
Birthdate: 0350 BC
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: 0285 BC

Pytheas was a Greek geographer, astronomer, and explorer. Best known for his legendary voyage to northwestern Europe, Pytheas was the first scientific visitor to witness and describe polar ice, the Arctic, and the Germanic and Celtic tribes. He is also the first explorer to see and describe the midnight sun.   

 22 
William Morris Davis
(Geographer, Geologist, Meteorologist)
William Morris Davis
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934
 23 
Piri Reis
(Ottoman Admiral, Geographer, Cartographer.)
Piri Reis
3
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Gelibolu, Turkey
Died: 1553 AD

Piri Reis was an Ottoman navigator, admiral, cartographer, and geographer. He is best remembered for his Book of Navigation, which contains maps and charts and information on navigational techniques. He gained international recognition in 1929 when a portion of his first world map was discovered at the Topkapı Palace in Turkey. Piri Reis finds mention in several popular video games.  

 24 
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.

 25 
Paul Vidal de La Blache
2
Birthdate: January 22, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pézenas, France
Died: April 5, 1918
 26 
Leo Africanus
(Diplomat)
Leo Africanus
3
Birthdate: 1494 AD
Birthplace: Granada, Spain
Died: 1554 AD

Spanish Islamic scholar Leo Africanus is best remembered for his Description of Africa, which served as a relevant treatise on the geography of Africa. Educated in Morocco, he had traveled through places such as Aswan and Timbuktu. He was later captured and converted to Christianity as Giovanni Leone.

 27 
Ellen Churchill Semple
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: May 8, 1932
 28 
Pausanias
(Geographer)
Pausanias
7
Birthdate: 0110 AD
Birthplace: Anatolia
Died: 0180 AD
 29 
Vaclav Smil
(Czech-Canadian Scientist and Policy Analyst)
Vaclav Smil
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pilsen, Czechia

One of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010, Czech-Canadian scientist and University of Manitoba professor Vaclav Smil perhaps developed his love for the environment while living among the Bohemian Forest in childhood. Apart from studying energy and environmental change, he also pens books such as Energy and Civilization.

 30 
Al-Masudi
(Historian)
Al-Masudi
3
Birthdate: 0896 AD
Birthplace: Baghdad, Iraq
Died: August 31, 0956
 31 
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.

 32 
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. 

 33 
Hecataeus of Miletus
3
Birthdate: 0550 AD
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0476 AD

Hecataeus of Miletus was a Greek geographer and historian best remembered for his composition of historical and geographical works. Regarded as the first known Greek historian, Hecataeus was one of the first classical authors to write about the Illyrian and Celtic peoples. Hecataeus of Miletus is also considered the Father of Geography.

 34 
Wladimir Köppen
(Geographer)
Wladimir Köppen
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: June 22, 1940

Wladimir Köppen was a Russian-German meteorologist, geographer, botanist, and climatologist. He is best remembered for publishing the Köppen climate classification system, which is used even today. Wladimir Köppen made important contributions to many branches of science. He is also credited with coining the term aerology.

 35 
Posidonius
(Astronomer)
Posidonius
3
Birthdate: 0135 BC
Birthplace: Apamea, Syria
Died: 0051 BC

Posidonius was a Greek astronomer, astrologer, politician, historian, mathematician, geographer, and teacher. Widely regarded as the most learned man of his generation, Posidonius took genuine interest in natural history and natural science. He worked towards spreading Stoicism to the Roman world through his personal lectures and writings. Also a philosopher, Posidonius’ works have influenced the works of several subsequent writers.     

 36 
Peter Aufschnaiter
(Explorer, Cartographer, Geographer, Rock climber)
Peter Aufschnaiter
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kitzbühel
Died: October 12, 1973
 37 
Sven Hedin
(Geographer)
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.

 38 
Ibn Jubayr
(Arab Geographer, Traveller and Poet)
Ibn Jubayr
5
Birthdate: September 1, 1145
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Valencia, Spain
Died: November 29, 1217

Ibn Jubayr was an Arab geographer, traveler, and poet from al-Andalus. In the years preceding the Third Crusade, he made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, which he wrote about in great detail in his chronicles. He was a member of an Arab family of the Kinanah tribe and also traveled to  Damascus, Mosul, Acre, and Baghdad. 

 39 
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. 

 40 
Gerald of Wales
(Welsh Historian and Archdeacon of Brecon)
Gerald of Wales
3
Birthdate: 1146 AD
Birthplace: Manorbier Castle, Wales
Died: 1223 AD
 41 
Pomponius Mela
(Geographer)
Pomponius Mela
3
Birthdate: 0015 AD
Birthplace: Algeciras

Roman author and geographer Pomponius Mela is best known for penning De situ orbis, later known as De chorographia, which is the earliest known geography treatise in Latin. His work described the Earth to be divided into five zones and four seas, the most important being the Mediterranean.

 42 
Edward Soja
(Geographer)
Edward Soja
0
Birthdate: May 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 1, 2015
 43 
Hubert Wilkins
(Australian Polar Explorer, Ornithologist, Pilot, Soldier, Geographer and Photographer)
Hubert Wilkins
2
Birthdate: October 31, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mount Bryan, Australia
Died: November 30, 1958

Australian-born British explorer and ornithologist Hubert Wilkins is best remembered for pioneering the use of the submarine for polar exploration. While he initially studied photography and engineering, he later embarked on the world’s first transpolar airplane flight across the Arctic and the first over parts of Antarctica.

 44 
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.

 45 
Yi-Fu Tuan
(Geographer)
Yi-Fu Tuan
0
Birthdate: December 5, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tianjin, China
 46 
Martin Behaim
(German Textile Merchant and Cartographer Known for Creating the 'Erdapfel', the Oldest Surviving Terrestrial Globe)
Martin Behaim
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1459
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nürnberg, Germany
Died: July 29, 1507

Martin Behaim was a German cartographer and textile merchant best remembered for producing the oldest surviving terrestrial globe, the Erdapfel. Behaim was an adviser to John II of Portugal who consulted him in matters of navigation. Martin Behaim also took part in an expedition to West Africa.

 47 
Doreen Massey
(Scientist)
Doreen Massey
0
Birthdate: January 3, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: March 11, 2016

Doreen Massey was a British geographer and social scientist. A multi-talented personality, Massey specialized in feminist geography, Marxist geography, and cultural geography among several other topics. For many years, she served at the UK's Open University as a professor of Geography. Over the course of her career, Doreen Massey was honored with many prestigious awards like the Presidential Achievement Award.

 48 
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.

 49 
Henry Schoolcraft
(Geographer)
Henry Schoolcraft
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864
 50 
Cosmas Indicopleustes
2
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0550 AD