…reminding us just how inseparable travel and the great outdoors are!
At a time when we’re so concerned about our environment, it’s a good idea to delve back into the past to draw inspiration from these adventurous naturalists, or rediscover the thinking that has shaped the way we see the world. This is done in 2 mini-biographies.
Alexander von Humboldt and his ascent of Chimborazo
Alexander von Humboldt was born in Germany in 1769 to a Prussian military father and a mother of French origin. His education was strongly influenced by the spirit of the Enlightenment. He studied at university and then at his family’s chateau, learning about botany and geology.
He traveled extensively throughout Europe and fulfilled various diplomatic missions. For a time, he settled in Paris, considered the world’s intellectual capital at the time. He met Aimé Bonpland, a French surgeon and amateur botanist. They obtained the support of the Spanish Crown and set sail for the Americas in 1799, arriving in Ecuador in 1802.
His international reputation as an adventurer was established with his ascent of Chimborazo.
The expedition lasted 5 years. He continued his research and founded the Société de géographie in 1821. He died in 1859.
Humboldt had not only highlighted the incredible biodiversity of the Andes, but also provided a point of reference for current studies on the evolution of this nature in relation to climate change.
To know more about Hunboldt and his ascent of Chimborazo: Humboldt en Ecuador: ascenso al volcán.
- Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain
- Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent during the years 1799–1804
Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution
Charles Darwin was born in England in 1809. He studied medicine, taxidermy and natural history. His father enrolled him at Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1827, with the firm intention of guiding him towards a career in theology.
However, in 1831, his botany teacher got him a place on the HMS Beagle (HMS stands for Her/His Majesty’s Ship in the British Navy). The ship set off on a 5-year expedition, initially to map South America, but later to circumnavigate the globe.
His many geological and natural science observations were recorded in The Voyage of the Beagle, published in 1839. But it was in 1859 that our adventurer published On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, a book that would turn the prevailing conceptions on their head. He died in 1882.
It’s interesting to see the extent to which the theory of evolution, based essentially on competition, has influenced the way we relate to each other and to nature. Today, this approach is put into perspective by the study and importance of the ways in which living beings work together.
To follow in the footsteps of these great figures, we’ve concocted a unique tour based on their historical journey through Ecuador, allowing you to discover the incredible biodiversity that fascinated them and continues to amaze us. Contact us for more information.