Peterman Augustus Heinrich

(18.04.1822 - 25.09. 1878 )


German cartographer and geographer.

Born in Blicherode, Thuringia.

When he was 14 years old, he entered high school in the neighboring city of Nordhausen. His mother wanted him to become a clergyman, but the natural skill of drawing maps and the love of geography made his choice of another career inevitable.

In 1839 Peterman entered the art school of Heinrich Berghaus in Potsdam to study cartographer. In 1845 he moved to Edinburgh , and in 1847 settled in London. Returning to Germany in 1854, a year later he founded the specialized journal in geography Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen in Goth . Edited by Peterman published 24 annual issue of the journal and 56 additional collections. He participated in the compilation of a large number of important atlases and maps.

In addition to research and publishing, Peterman spent a lot of time and effort on organizing expeditions to various regions of the Earth: in 1849 - 1864. to Central Africa; in 1860–1863 to East Sudan and the Middle Nile region.

On July 23 and 24, 1865 at the initiative of Otto Volger and August Petermann, the first “Meeting of German masters and friends of geography” was held in Frankfurt am Main. At this conference, Peterman first put forward the hypothesis of the existence of the open sea in the polar space. He believed that it was only necessary to break through the ice barrier lying north of Spitsbergen, and then the path would be free. Mastering this path promised huge material benefits, and Germany, which for many years stood apart from Arctic problems, decided to send an expedition led by captain Karl Koldewey.

The expedition vessel, a small yacht “Germany”, left Bergen on May 24, 1868 and headed to the east coast of Greenland. At 120–130 km from Greenland in the region of 75°N. went into the ice. After several vain attempts to break through to the north in this area, Koldewei went to Spitsbergen and in the middle of September tried to go north from there. He managed to reach 81° 04′N. Winter was coming, and Koldewey hurried back.

Failure did not shake Peterman, and he found funds for organizing a second, more ambitious expedition. They built the steamer "Germany", which was attached to the sailing vessel "Hansa", re-equipped for navigation in ice conditions.

Peterman believed that the best ice conditions should be between Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, and offered to send one of the ships there. However, Koldewei categorically opposed this and, going to a conflict with Peterman, sent both vessels on last year’s route to the east coast of Greenland.


Peterman Glacier


Under 74° 04′N in an impenetrable fog, the ships lost each other and never again met. Sandwiched with ice, the “Hansa” was swept away to the south and crushed at 70° 52′N. The crew, disembarking on an ice floe, drifted along the eastern coast of Greenland for 200 days and then reached the south-western coast with great difficulty on boats. "Germany" managed to reach the coast of Greenland and cross the latitude of 75°, where the expedition stopped for the winter. One of its participants, later famous Yu. Payer, undertook a luge ride along the coast. Having risen to a height of 1220 m, he saw the sea covered with ice to the horizon. On the next trip, Koldewey and Payer reached 77° latitude and only solid ice was also seen from a height of 300 m.  An important achievement of the second expedition Koldevey was clarifying the configuration of the northern coast of Greenland.

Both expeditions of the Koldewey showed the inconsistency of Peterman’s hypothesis, which, however, remained self-righteous for a long time, becoming the initiator of the subsequent expeditions of Payer - Weyprecht and De Long.

In 1874  Payer “saw” the land north of Franz Josef Land and plotted it on a map called Peterman Land, but during the expedition vessel G.L. Brusilov "St. Anna" in 1912 - 1914 and navigator navigator V.A. Albanov it was not found.

Peterman committed suicide in Gotha, buried in Hauptfriedhof Cemetery.

Peninsula in northwest Greenland in the Kennedy Strait.

Mountains in the north of Dixon Land on the West Svalbard. The coordinates are 79° 10'N   15° 30'E.

Cape in the north of Dixon Land on West Spitsbergen. Coordinates 79° 10'N   15° 30'E.

Glacier in northwest Greenland within the Land of Knud Rasmussen.

Glacier in the north-east of Sabin Land, on the island of West Spitsbergen. Coordinates 78° 30'N   18° 30'E

Bay in northwestern Greenland in the Kennedy Strait.


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