Malte-Brun, Conrad


Conrad Malte Brun was a prominent European geographer and journalist. He was born on August 12, 1775 in the family of the Danish Crown lands Royal Demesne governor. Malte-Brun was destined for a career of a clergyman but he chose instead to attend classes at the University of Copenhagen, where he became an activist in favour of the press freedom and democracy.

He was exiled from Denmark in 1800 for his verses and pamphlets supporting the French Revolution. Malte-Brun proved himself as a journalist and a writer-geographer when he lived in Paris. His works include six volumes of “Précisde la géographie univers” (“Précis of World Geography”). He became a founder and was elected the first secretary of the Société de Géographie de Paris (1821).

A Map of the Russian Empire southern regions from “The Complete and Universal Geographic Atlas” by Conrad Malte Brun is stored in the Museum Collection. The detailed maps of various regions of Russian Empire were presented in the Atlas. Some remarkable historical details were reflected in it. For example, the Polish and Baltic lands, Georgia (1801), Finland, all Russian lands in North America that had been recently included in the Empire were showed as a part of Russia. However, cartographers did not include Bessarabia in the map in spite of the fact that it was taken away from Turkey in 1812. This Atlas was unique: the part dedicated to European countries and their borders at the turn of the XVIII-XIXth centuries reflected a very brief historical moment when the Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte was at the peak of its power, and the political map of Europe was changed dramatically. New state formations created by the French emperor appeared on it. The Atlas depicts the unique scenery of the French Empire latest victorious period. Already by 1812, the new system of the international relations that he had built was practically broken and after the defeat in the Russian campaign, the European countries that were united by Napoleon Bonaparte started to regain the lost territories.

Malthe-Bruun died in Paris in 1826, while working on the final version of his basic work “The Précis de Geography Universelle on Description de toutes les parties du monde”.

Streets in Paris and in Thisted were named after him. His second son Victor Adolph Malthe-Bruun also became a geographer. He devoted himself to the investigation of Africa and Arctic Regions.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection