Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Humboldt, Friedrich Heinrich Alexander von (1769-1859), a great traveller and naturalist, was born at Berlin, and after studying at Gottingen and other universities, started on a tour down the Rhine, visiting F'rance, Holland, and England. In 1791 he went to Freiberg to study mining and botany, and from then to 1797 he was engaged in mining operations, resigning his appointment in the latter year for the sake of travelling. Having gone to Paris he made the acquaintance of Aime Bonpland, a medical and botanical student, and, having got from the King of Spain permission to travel in the Spanish Colonies of America, he sent for Bonpland, and the pair started from Corunna. At Teneriffe they climbed the Peak to make atmospherical and geological observations. For five years they explored the regions of the Orinoco and Rio Negro, verifying the union of the Orinoco and the Amazon, and then spent some months in Cuba. In 1801 they returned to South America, and ascended the Magdalena, then went by land to Quito and as far south as Lima, crossing the Andes five times, and climbing Chimborazo and other peaks, and after a visit to Mexico and the United States they arrived in France, and Humboldt set about arranging the vast mass of materials they had brought with them, and, with the exception of short intervals, he remained there till 1827. His work on South America was published in three volumes, with atlas, from 1809 to 1825. In 1829 he set out in company with Ehrenberg and Gustav Rose on an exploring expedition to Northern Asia, to examine the Oural and Altai mountains and the Caspian Sea, accomplishing 10,000 miles in nine months, and the results of this expedition, published by Rose and himself independently, gave a great impulse to research among men of science. F'or some years from this time Humboldt was engaged largely in political and court affairs, but he found time to publish a critical examination of the geography of the New World. His great work Kosmos, in four volumes, had a great influence upon science, and has been often translated. Bohn's Scientific Library contains in nine volumes translations of his Travels, Kosmos, and Views of Nature.