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Thursday 20 February 2020

1801. Journey to the land of the Basques. Wilhem von Humboldt (1767-1835)


Born in Tegel, Prussia, Humboldt was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his era, and his works continue to be obligatory reading in certain scientific fields, such as linguistics, for example. He was the brother of another great scientist, the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

Linguist, poet, literary critic and politician, he maintained contact with some of the greatest figures in contemporary culture, such as Goethe and Schiller. In the Basque Country, he associated with Moguel, Astarloa and Prestamero.

He travelled through the Basque Country for the first time, on his way to Madrid along the royal road.

He returned to satisfy the curiosity aroused during the first journey, and travelled around much of our country taking notes on its language, culture, landscape, customs and institutions, etc. He wrote the book entitled: The Basques, which was translated into many different languages.

During his time as Minister for Education in Prussia, he founded the University of Berlin.

As a diplomat, he carried out top-ranking missions and his political responsibilities took him all over Europe.He represented Prussia at the Congress of Vienna, which re-established the balance in Europe following Napoleon's defeat, and restored absolutism.

He abandoned politics to dedicate his time exclusively to linguistics. He was a pioneer in comparative linguistics and managed to learn around two hundred languages, Basque being one of his favourites.

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2007 Wilhem von Humboldt - Museo Zumalakarregi  Museo zumalakarregi Museoa