Scientific findings of Alexander von Humboldt’s expedition into the Spanish-American Tropics (1799-1804)

Scientific findings of Alexander von Humboldt’s expedition into the Spanish-American Tropics (1799-1804) from a geographical point of view

Eine Analyse der wissenschaftlichen Bedeutung von Humboldts Amerikareise aus geographischer Perspektive, von Gerd Kohlhepp.

Abstract:

Alexander von Humboldt’s expedition from 1799 till 1804 to the „equinoctial regions of the new world“ led through Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico. In Europe an increased knowledge of the „New World“ was connected with the privately funded journey, which served purely scientific purposes and had nothing to do with the exploration and exploitation of natural resources. Besides the research results, which were based on new measuring methods and the quantitative ascertainment of scientific basics, the journey also made possible detailed descriptions in matters of regional studies including social, socio-economic, political, and economic-geographic circumstances, which were based on empirical field studies. The expedition took place shortly before the political change in Latin America. Humboldt, who still experienced the feudal character of global economy based on slave labor in the colonies, vehemently criticized this economic structure – although he was a noble – and its unbearable social conditions. This is the reason why Humboldt is still admired in Latin America till this day.

Katharina Einert

Katharina Einert - Studium der Romanistik und Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft an der Universität Potsdam. Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft am Lehrstuhl für französisch- und spanischsprachige Literatur (Prof. Dr. Ottmar Ette), Institut für Romanistik, Universität Potsdam. Seit 2011 Promotion unter Betreuung von Prof. Dr. Gesine Müller, Romanisches Seminar, Universität zu Köln.

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