Alexander von Humboldt
Translated by Helen Maria Williams
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:September 2011
Original Publication Year:1814
Subjects: Latin American history , Archaeology of the Americas
Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an internationally respected scientist and explorer whose meticulous approach to scientific observation greatly influenced later research. He travelled the world, once staying at the White House as a guest of Thomas Jefferson, and is commemorated in the many species and places which bear his name. This two volume work, published in French in 1810 as Vue des Cordillères, and in this English translation in 1814, was one of the many publications that resulted from Humboldt's expedition to Latin America in 1799–1804. It describes geographical features such as volcanoes and waterfalls, and aspects of the indigenous cultures including architecture, sculpture, art, languages and writing systems, religions, costumes and artefacts. This approachable, closely observed travelogue vividly recounts a huge variety of impressions and experiences, and reveals Humboldt's boundless curiosity as well as his scientific and cultural knowledge.