Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Wagner, Moritz Friedrich

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WAGNER, Moritz Friedrich, German explorer, b. in Baireuth, Bavaria, 3 Oct., 1813. He received his education at the University of Augsburg, was afterward clerk in a mercantile house in Marseilles, and in 1834 went to Paris, Erlangen, and Munich, to study natural science. He visited Algiers in 1836-'8, studied geology at Göttingen in 1838-'42, explored the Caucasus and Armenia in 1842-'6, at the expense of the Berlin academy of sciences, and visited Italy in 1846-'9, and Asia Minor, Persia, and Kurdistan in 1850-'1. In 1852-'5, with Karl von Scherzer, he visited the United States, Central America, and the West Indies, and he went again to America in 1857, at the invitation of King Maximilian II. of Bavaria. He explored the province of Chiriqui, on the Isthmus of Panama, till 1858, visiting in 1859 the western Andes of Ecuador, and forming rich collections in natural history. On his return to Germany in 1860 he was appointed professor of geography in the University of Munich, elected an associate member of the Munich and Berlin academies of sciences, founded and became director of the Ethnographical museum of Munich, and discovered prehistoric habitations in some of the lakes in Bavaria, principally that of Starnberg. Wagner has since devoted his labors exclusively to science. His works, besides those that describe his travels in the Old World, include “Reisen in Nordamerika” (3 vols., Leipsic, 1854), “Die Republik von Costa-Rica in Central-Amerika” (1856), both written with Scherzer; “Ueber das Vorkommen von Pfahlbauten” (Munich, 1867); and “Ueber Topographie, Zweck und Alter der Pfahlbauten” (1867). He contributed also many papers describing his travels to Petermann's monthly collection and to the journal of the Geographical society of Berlin.