“Hacienda del Apantle de la Santa Cruz, recuerdos de sus alrededores”
Humboldt was born in Berlin in 1769. He was a polymath, his knowledge took in many subjects; he was an expert in geography, ethnography, anthropology, physics, zoology, ornithology, climatology, oceanography, astronomy, geology, mineralogy, botany, vulcanology, more than humanities and other areas. In fact he is considered the father of Universal Modern Geography. In his exploration trips he went to Europe, South America, United States, the Canary Islands and Frankfurt, Frankfurt del Oder and the University of Gotinga. His enthusiasm for botany, geology and mineralogy led him to study in the Mining School of Freiberg and to work in a mining department of the Prussian government. Later he was allowed to embark to the Spanish colonies of South America and Central America.
The French botanist Aimé Bonpland, who had already traveled with him to Spain, accompanied him in an adventure of almost ten thousand kilometers (approximately 6215 miles) in three great continental stages. They went to South America in the first two, from Caracas up to the fountains of Orinoco and from Bogota to Quito through the Andean region, and to the Spanish colonies in Mexico in the third.
In this travel he was able to obtain information about the climate, the flora and the fauna of the
zone; he was able to set longitudes and latitudes as well as measurements of the earth’s magnetic field. Thanks to this trip he also made statistics in reference to the social and economic conditions in the Mexican colonies of Spain. He installed himself in Paris from 1804 to 1827 and there he collected, ordered and published the materials he obtained in his excursions, written in thirty volumes with the title Trip to the equinoctial regions of the New Continent.
The ocean current of the western coast of South America carried his name for a long time as it was one of the scientific discoveries of the mentioned excursions. Others were an innovative system of climate representation in the form of isobars and isotherms, the comparative studies between climatic and ecologic conditions and above all, his conclusions in reference to volcanism and its relation with the evolution of the terrestrial crust.
It was when he returned to Berlin en 1827 that he played an important role in the recovery of the German academic and scientific community, damaged by the long war crisis. He was named Chamberlain of the King and became one of his main advisors, which resulted in his making many diplomatic missions. In 1829, on a mission entrusted to him by the czar, he travelled through Asiatic Russia, visiting Dzhungaria and the Altai.
During the next 25 years of his life he was busy writing his work Cosmoslo. It is a global vision of the structure of the universe; four of the volumes were edited when he was still alive. Alexander von Humboldt is catalogued as one of the last great illustrators, he had an encyclopedic culture and his work included fields as disparate as natural science, geography, geology and physics.
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