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SCHOMBURGK, Robert Hermann.

Reisen in Guiana und am Orinoko während der Jahre 1835–1839.

Nach seinen Berichten und Mittheilungen an die Geographische Gesellschaft in London, herausgegeben von O.A. Schomburgk. Mit einem Vorwort von Alexander von Humboldt und dessen Abhandlung über einige Wichtige astronomische Positionen Guiana's. Mit 6 colorirten Ansichten und einer Karte.

Published: Leipzig: Verlag von Georg Wigand, 1841

Stock code: 94064

Price: £2,000

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First German language edition of the German-British naturalist, surveyor and explorer’s account of his important expedition to the new colony of British Guiana, published the year following the first English edition. Schomburgk surveyed the coast and the Essequibo, Courantyne, Demerara, and Berbice rivers, incidentally discovering the giant Victoria Regia water lily in 1837 (now renamed Victoria amazonica) and many new species of orchids, one genus of which, Schomburgkia, was named for him. “By his journey across the interior from the Essequibo to Esmeralda on the Orinoco he was enabled to connect his observations with those of his countryman, Humboldt, and to determine astronomically a series of fixed points extending across the watershed of the great rivers of equatorial America” (ODNB). He was, as described by Henze; “the most important explorer of northern South America in the first half of the nineteenth century, the scientific discoverer of British Guiana” (Henze p.78). On his return to England in 1839 to accept the gold medal from the Royal Geographical Society, he proposed that a settlement on the borders of Guiana should be established as soon as possible for both commercial and (having witnessed slave raids from Brazil) humanitarian reasons. In 1840 he was duly sent back as boundary commissioner and he subsequently established the so-called “Schomburgk Line” between British Guiana and the neighbouring countries of Venezuela and Brazil.

Octavo (257 162 mm). Near-contemporary dark green half morocco, spine lettered in gilt, gilt rules, marbled sides, endpapers, and edges. Gilt monogram to spine of Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer (1852–1923). 6 hand-coloured engraved plates, large folding map. Extremities a little rubbed in places, one corner worn, an excellent copy.

Bibliography: Embacher 262; Engelmann 205; Henze V: pp. 78-84; Sabin 77791. .

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