Famous German Explorers

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 1 
Laura Dekker
(New Zealand-Born Dutch Sailor Who Completed the First Solo Circumnavigation of the World)
Laura Dekker
5
Birthdate: September 20, 1995
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Whangarei, New Zealand

New Zealand-born Dutch sailor Laura Dekker was 14 when she began her path-breaking solo journey around the world aboard a ketch named Guppy. At 16, she reached the Caribbean and thus became the youngest person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world. She later published a book on her experiences.

 2 
Hermann Detzner
(German Explorer and Engineer Who Explored German New Guinea as a Schutztruppe Member)
Hermann Detzner
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Speyer, Bavarian Palatinate, German Empire
Died: December 1, 1970

The son of a German dentist, Hermann Detzner grew up to be an engineer, topographer, and surveyor. He was also part of the German colonial troops in Cameroon and German New Guinea. Refusing to surrender to Australian troops, he and his forces explored the interiors of German New Guinea for 4 years.

 3 
Hans Staden
(German Soldier and Explorer Who Voyaged to South America in the Middle of the Sixteenth Century)
Hans Staden
2
Birthdate: 1525 AD
Birthplace: Homberg, Germany
Died: July 30, 1576

Hans Staden was a German explorer and soldier. He is best remembered for his voyage to South America during the 16th century. During his voyage, Staden was held captive by the Tupinambá people. After his escape and return to Europe, Hans Staden documented his journey and claimed that the Tupinambá people of Brazil practiced cannibalism. 

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 4 
Carl Peters
(German Explorer, Colonial Ruler, Who Founded the 'German East Africa Company')
Carl Peters
2
Birthdate: September 27, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Neuhaus an der Elbe, Germany
Died: September 10, 1918

Carl Peters was a German explorer, colonial ruler, author, and politician. He is best remembered for founding the German East Africa Company. His life and career inspired the 1941 propaganda movie Carl Peters, in which Peters was played by popular German actor and singer Hans Albers.

 5 
Georg Wilhelm Steller
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1709
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bad Windsheim, Germany
Died: November 14, 1746

German-born zoologist and botanist Georg Wilhelm Steller traveled to Russia on a troop ship. He was later part of the Great Northern Expedition, aboard the St. Peter, aimed at locating a sea route from Russia to North America. The Steller’s sea cow, discovered by him, went extinct later.

 6 
Engelbert Kaempfer
(Naturalist)
Engelbert Kaempfer
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1651
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lemgo, Germany
Died: November 2, 1716

Seventeenth-century German physician and traveler Engelbert Kaempfer had been on trade missions across the world, including places such as Russia, Iran, Java, and Japan. His written experiences about his stay in Japan became a valuable source of information on the flora and fauna of the country.

 7 
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.

 8 
Heinrich Barth
(German Explorer and Geographer Known for His Expeditions in Africa)
Heinrich Barth
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1821
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: November 25, 1865

German explorer and geographer Heinrich Barth was a pioneering European explorer of Africa. A linguist, he was not just fluent in languages such as French and Arabic, but he also learned several African languages. He also penned a 4-volume account of his experiences in Africa and taught at the University of Berlin.

 9 
Carsten Niebuhr
(German Explorer Who Was the Sole Survivor of the Royal Danish Arabia Expedition)
Carsten Niebuhr
1
Birthdate: March 17, 1733
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ludingworth, Germany
Died: April 26, 1815

German explorer, mathematician, and cartographer Carsten Niebuhr was part of the renowned Royal Danish Arabia Expedition, a voyage he was invited to by King Frederick V of Denmark himself. He was the only survivor of the expedition and later penned down his experiences. He was the father of Danish-German historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr.

 10 
Thomas Orde-Lees
(One of the First Non-Japanese Men to Reach the Peak of Mount Fuji During the Winter)
Thomas Orde-Lees
0
Birthdate: May 23, 1877
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aachen, Germany
Died: December 1, 1958

Thomas Orde-Lees was a German explorer and mountaineer. A member of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Orde-Lees proved to be a proficient storekeeper during the expedition. Thomas Orde-Lees was also one of the first non-Japanese men to reach the peak of Mount Fuji during the winter.

 11 
Theodore of Corsica
(German Adventurer and King of Corsica)
Theodore of Corsica
1
Birthdate: August 25, 1694
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: December 11, 1756

Theodore of Corsica was a German adventurer best remembered for his brief service as the King of Corsica from March 1736 to November 1736. Theodore of Corsica later became the subject of G. Paisiello's comic opera, Il re Teodoro in Venezia.

 12 
Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius
(German Botanist Who Is Known for His Research on Brazilian Flora)
Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius
1
Birthdate: April 17, 1794
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Erlangen, Germany
Died: December 13, 1868

German botanist and explorer Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius is remembered for his Austrian expedition to Brazil. He went on to conduct extensive research on Brazilian flora. His best-known work remains the 3-volume Historia naturalis palmarum. He also taught and maintained a botanic garden in Munich.

 13 
Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied
(German Naturalist, Explorer, and Ethnologist, Known for His Expeditions to Brazil and North America)
Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied
1
Birthdate: September 23, 1782
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Neuwied, Germany
Died: February 3, 1867

German naturalist, ethnologist, and explorer Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied is remembered for his pioneering expeditions to Brazil and to the American West. In the latter journey, he was accompanied by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, who drew illustrations supporting Maximilian’s notes about the tribal culture and life there.

 14 
Gustav Adolf von Götzen
(German Colonizer and Governor of German East Africa from 1901 to 1906)
Gustav Adolf von Götzen
0
Birthdate: May 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sarny Palace, Ścinawka Górna, Poland
Died: December 2, 1910

Gustav Adolf von Götzen was a German colonizer best remembered for his service as the Governor of German East Africa from 1901 to 1906. In 1905, Gustav Adolf von Götzen successfully suppressed the Maji Maji Rebellion, which threatened to take over the colony. 

 15 
Johannes Rebmann
(German Missionary and Explorer Who was the First European to Locate Mt. Kilimanjaro)
Johannes Rebmann
1
Birthdate: January 16, 1820
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gerlingen, Germany
Died: October 4, 1876

German missionary Johannes Rebmann became the first person to explore Africa from the continent’s Indian Ocean coast and also the first European to discover Mt. Kilimanjaro. Along with his associate Johann Ludwig Krapf, he also stumbled upon Mt. Kenya. His diary later revealed a lot about his experiences in Africa.

 16 
Gustav Nachtigal
(German Explorer and Army Surgeon Who Went on Expeditions in the Sahara)
Gustav Nachtigal
1
Birthdate: February 23, 1834
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Eichstedt, Germany
Died: April 20, 1885

German explorer who served as a military surgeon in Central Africa and is remembered for his pioneering explorations of the Sahara. He was commissioned by the Prussian king William I to explore Bornu. He also covered Chad, Sudan, and Cairo, and was later sent to western Africa by Bismarck.

 17 
Hermann Wissmann
(German Explorer and Military Leader Known for His Exploration of the Upper Congo Basin)
Hermann Wissmann
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1853
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany
Died: June 15, 1905

German explorer Hermann Wissmann is remembered for his pioneering expedition to the upper Congo basin. His studies were instrumental in Germany setting up colonies in East Africa. Part of the German Army, he also served as the imperial commissioner for East Africa. The forces under his command were known as Wissmanntruppe.

 18 
Curt von François
(German Geographer, Cartographer, and Military Figure Who Helped in the German Colonization of Africa)
Curt von François
0
Birthdate: October 2, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Died: December 28, 1931

German geographer, cartographer, and military and political figure Curt von François had a significant role in the growth of German colonialism in Africa. He was in control of the German colonial army, or the Schutztruppe, in present-day Namibia. He was also instrumental in building the cities Windhoek and Swakopmund.

 19 
Karl Mauch
(German Explorer and Geologist Who Discovered the Ruins of Great Zimbabwe)
Karl Mauch
1
Birthdate: May 7, 1837
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kernen, Germany
Died: April 4, 1875

German explorer Karl Mauch made quite a few significant discoveries of geological and archaeological significance in southern Africa, such as the goldfields of Hartley Hills and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. He, however, had initially intended to unearth the ruins of the biblical city of Ophir.

 20 
Wilhelm Filchner
(German Explorer Who Led Major Scientific Surveys in China and Tibet)
Wilhelm Filchner
1
Birthdate: September 13, 1877
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: May 7, 1957

Wilhelm Filchner was a German explorer, scientist, and army officer. He is best remembered for leading major scientific surveys in China and Tibet. He also led the Second German Antarctic Expedition between 1911 and 1913. Wilhelm Filchner was the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, including the German National Prize for Art and Science.

 21 
Philipp von Hutten
(German Adventurer and Explorer Who Served as Venezuela's Last German Captain General)
Philipp von Hutten
1
Birthdate: December 18, 1505
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Konigshofen, Germany
Died: May 17, 1546

Philipp von Hutten was a German adventurer and explorer. He is best remembered for his service as Venezuela's last German captain general. One of the most important figures in the history of Welserland, Philipp von Hutten played a prominent role in influencing Charles V's decision to grant the province of Venezuela to the Welser family of Augsburg. 

 22 
Eduard Rüppell
(German Naturalist and Explorer Known for His Pioneering Expeditions to Africa)
Eduard Rüppell
1
Birthdate: November 20, 1794
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: December 10, 1884

German naturalist and explorer Eduard Rüppell is remembered for his pioneering expedition to northeastern Africa. He was the first naturalist to explore Ethiopia, or Abyssinia. He also brought back many zoological and ethnographical samples to Europe for further research. He also published written accounts of his travel experiences.

 23 
Karl Weyprecht
(Austro-Hungarian Explorer and Navy Officer)
Karl Weyprecht
1
Birthdate: September 8, 1838
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: March 29, 1881

Karl Weyprecht was an Austro-Hungarian explorer. He served as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Navy and played an important role in the Austro-Sardinian War. He also achieved popularity as an Arctic explorer and co-led the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of 1872-1874 along with Julius von Payer. In 1875, Karl Weyprecht was honored with the prestigious Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal.

 24 
Robert Hermann Schomburgk
(German-born British Explorer)
Robert Hermann Schomburgk
0
Birthdate: June 5, 1804
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Freyburg, Germany
Died: March 11, 1865

Robert Hermann Schomburgk was a German-born explorer who carried out ethnological, botanical, and geographical studies in the West Indies and South America. Robert Hermann Schomburgk also fulfilled diplomatic missions on behalf of the Great Britain in Thailand and the Dominican Republic.

 25 
Julius Klaproth
(German Historian and Linguist Who Played an Important Role in Categorizing East Asian Studies as Scientific Disciplines)
Julius Klaproth
0
Birthdate: October 11, 1783
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 28, 1835

Julius Klaproth was a German historian, linguist, author, ethnographer, explorer, and orientalist. Along with Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, Klaproth played an important role in categorizing East Asian Studies as scientific disciplines. As an Asiatologist, Julius Klaproth was well-versed in several Asian languages, such as Sanskrit, Manchu, Mongolian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Chinese.

 26 
Gerhard Rohlfs
(Explorer)
Gerhard Rohlfs
0
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.

 27 
Karl Klaus von der Decken
(The First European to Make an Attempt to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro)
Karl Klaus von der Decken
0
Birthdate: August 8, 1833
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kotzen, Germany
Died: October 2, 1865

Karl Klaus von der Decken was a German explorer best remembered as the first European to make an attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He was the first European to document a sighting of Mount Meru, which he did during his 1862 expedition. In 1864, Karl Klaus von der Decken was honored by the Royal Geographical Society with the Patron's Medal.

 28 
Eduard Robert Flegel
(German Explorer Who Identified the Source of the Benue River at Ngaundere)
Eduard Robert Flegel
0
Birthdate: October 13, 1855
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania
Died: September 11, 1886

Eduard Robert Flegel was a German explorer. He played a prominent role in the Partition of Africa. Flegel was commissioned by the German African Society to explore the Benue River basin. During the exploration in 1882, Eduard Robert Flegel identified the source of the Benue River at Ngaundere.

 29 
Adolf Overweg
(German Geologist, Astronomer and Explorer Who Was the First European to Circumnavigate and Map 'Lake Chad')
Adolf Overweg
0
Birthdate: July 24, 1822
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: September 27, 1852

Adolf Overweg went down in history as the first person from Europe to circumnavigate Lake Chad. The German astronomer and geologist was part of a team that was sent to improve trade relations with Central Africa. Unfortunately, he died of a mysterious illness, which he contracted after swimming.

 30 
Friedrich Hornemann
(The First Modern European to Successfully Cross the Northeastern Sahara)
Friedrich Hornemann
0
Birthdate: September 15, 1772
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hildesheim, Germany
Died: January 31, 1801

Friedrich Hornemann was a German explorer who lived and worked in Africa. He is best remembered as the first modern European to successfully cross the northeastern Sahara. Friedrich Hornemann later published a journal, which contained useful information about the then-unknown terrain of central Sudan.