Short Portrait: Eduard Pechuel-Loesche

Eduard Pechuel-Loesche
Eduard Pechuel-Loesche

Eduard Pechuel-Loesche was born in Zöschen near Merseburg in 1840. His father was a mill owner. After finishing school Pechuel-Loesche joined the merchant navy and travelled all over the globe during the 1860s, i.e. to Northern and Southern America, the Polar Regions, the West Indies and the Bering Strait.

Thereafter Pechuel-Loesche studied Natural Sciences, Geography and Philosophy at the Leipzig University. He graduated with a zoological thesis in 1872. Eventually he not only participated in the Loanga Expedition (1873-76) organized by Paul Güssfeldt but also was involved in the founding of the Congo State.

In 1882 Pechuel-Loesche came to Congo for the second time and subsequently travelled through the Herero regions and Southwest Africa in 1884/85. Moreover, Pechuel-Loesche painted more than 400 aquarelles during his research journeys. This work is now situated at the Department of Geography of the Hamburg University.

In 1886 Pechuel-Loesche returned to Europe and began lecturing at the Leipzig University. The same year he finished his habilitation thesis and took up a professorship at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena.

In 1895 Pechuel-Loesche was appointed the first Professor of Geography at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen, where he took up a full professorship in 1903.

Eduard Pechuel-Loesche retired in 1913 and died in Munich the same year.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in July 2012, based on German and English articles at; photo source: