By Alexander von Humboldt
Edited by John Taylor
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:December 2011
Original Publication Year:1824
Subjects: Economic history , Historical geography
Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was one of the most respected scientists of his time; Darwin called him 'the greatest scientific traveller who ever lived'. From 1799 Humboldt spent five years exploring the Americas, reporting his findings in thirty volumes, published over a period of more than twenty years from 1805. His Essai Politique, describing northern New Spain, particularly Mexico, was one of the first studies of a single country written to take account of both its history, its society and its political development. In 1824, the English mining engineer John Taylor published this abridged translation, combining it with passages from Humboldt's Geognostical Essay on the Superposition of Rocks in order to provide a focussed account of Mexico's mining concerns and opportunities. Including detailed maps, this work contains exhaustive statistics, particularly with regard to trade, agriculture and mining, alongside geographical studies and observations on the population and government.
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