Richthofen Ferdinand Paul Wilhelm
German baron, an outstanding geologist and geographer.
Born in Karlsruhe, came from a famous noble family.
He received his primary education at the Catholic gymnasium in
Breslau, then studied at Breslavl and then Berlin universities,
where he attended lectures on mathematics and natural sciences at
the Faculty of Philosophy.
Among his teachers were geologists G. Beirich and K. Weiss, as
well as the famous geographer Karl Richter.
After receiving his doctorate in geology, Richthofen was improved
in Vienna and in 1853 entered the Vienna Geological Institute.
As part of the expeditions of this institute, he conducted
geological studies in the Alps and the Carpathians.
In 1860, as a member of the Prussian embassy, Richthofen
embarked on a large-scale journey that enriched both his knowledge
and geological science.
He visited Ceylon, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia.
After working in South and Southeast Asia for about two years,
Richthofen devoted several years to the geological studies of
California and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
In 1868 he returned to East Asia and until 1872 worked in China,
having traveled 13 of 18 ancient Chinese provinces.
Thanks to him, this part of China was open to science.
At this stage Richthofen’s circle of interests extended far
beyond geological studies: he turned from a geologist into a
In 1873 Richthofen returned to Germany and began to compose his
classic work on China.
In 1877 the first volume was published, in 1882 - the second one.
He combined his scientific work with teaching, being first a full
professor in Bonn, in 1883 in Leipzig, and in 1885 in Berlin.
In 1887 E.V.
who returned from the expedition to the New Siberian Islands and was
engaged in processing the materials received.
In the last years of his life Richthofen again turned to the
study of East Asia, writing a number of valuable essays on the
geology of Indochina, the Philippines, Japan, and East China.
He showed great interest in the study of the South Polar
In addition to his outstanding abilities as a researcher,
Richthofen also had organizational talent: he founded the Institute
of Oceanology in Berlin, as president of the Berlin Geographical
Society, radically transformed his work, and contributed to the
organization of the German Antarctic expedition under the
supervision of his student E. Drigalsky.
Richthofen created a large scientific school, but he himself did
not experience any external influence.
He had the highest scientific authority, not only colleagues, but
also the German government listened to his advice.
He died in Berlin during the preparation of the report "On the
Significance of South Polar Expeditions and, in particular, the
The report was almost ready, as followed by a fatal blow.
Richthofen was found unconscious and died two days later without
He was buried in the
in Standorf, Brandenburg Land, Germany.
Cape in the south of the island of
Luigi archipelago Franz Josef Land.
Named by the expedition of
F. Jackson in
Mountain on the island of Alger
archipelago Franz Josef Land.
Named in 1874 by
Pass on West Svalbard
Mountain in the Land of Wedel
Yarlsberg, Western Spitsbergen Islands.
The coordinates are 77°
21.6'N 15° 42.0'E.