The New International Encyclopædia/Ritter, Karl

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

RITTER, Karl (1779-1859). An eminent German geographer. He was born at Quedlinburg, Prussia, in 1779, and was educated in the famous school of Salzmann at Schnepfenthal and at Halle University. His earliest geographical studies were printed in a paper published for the young, and attracted wide attention. His six maps of Europe were published in 1806 and his Geography of Europe, in two volumes, five years later. In 1816 he completed in Berlin the first volume of Die Erdkunde, his monumental geographical work, and a part of it was published in the following year. The whole of the first volume did not appear until 1832, and the following volumes were issued from the press in rapid succession. Die Erdkunde is the fullest encyclopædia of geographical lore. In this work Ritter unfolded and established the treatment of geography, as a study and a science, which has been indorsed and adopted by all geographers. He presented the earth's surface in its relations to nature and to man and as the foundation of the study of the physical and historical sciences. All the physical geographies of to-day profoundly show the influence of Ritter's writings. His position as a teacher became as eminent as his rank as a geographer. Many of Ritter's writings were printed in the Monatsberichte of the Berlin Geographical Society, and in the Zeitschrift für allgemeine Erdkunde. His Geschichte der Erdkunde und der Entdeckungen (1861), Allgemeine Erdkunde (1862), and Europa (1863) were published posthumously. Some of his works have been translated into English by W. L. Gage: Comparative Geography (1865), and The Comparative Geography of Palestine and the Sinaitic Peninsula (1866). Consult the Life by W. L. Gage (Edinburgh, 1867) and Kramer (Halle, 1864; 2d ed. 1875).