Ritter, Carl (1779–1859)

One of the great intellectual giants of 19th-century geography, Carl Ritter was an influential professor in Frankfurt and Berlin. He is often described as one of the two principal founders of modern geography, compared with his contemporary, Alexander von Humboldt.

Son of a doctor, Ritter became from 1798 to 1814 a tutor for the children of Bethmann Hollweg, a wealthy local banker who financed his university education. In school, he studied botany, art, theology, philosophy, and history, and he taught himself Greek and Latin. His first geographical publication appeared in 1804, and by 1816, he had acquired a reputation as a geographer. After a year as professor of history in Frankfurt, he moved to the University of Berlin as a professor of geography, occupying the ...

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