Ratzel, Friedrich(frē`drĭkh rät`səl), 1844–1904, German geographer. He traveled as a journalist in Europe (1869) and in Cuba, Mexico, and the United States (1872–75). Thereafter he devoted himself to geographical studies and taught geography at the polytechnical school in Munich (1876–86) and at the Univ. of Leipzig (from 1886). He was a pioneer in developing the school of anthropogeography and was the founder of modern political geography. He emphasized the importance of physical environment as a factor determining human activity. His geographic concepts had a profound influence on European and American geographers and he had many followers. The most noted of his many works are Anthropogeographie (2 vol., 1882–91) and Politische Geographie (1897).
Born Aug. 30, 1844, in Karlsruhe; died Aug. 9, 1904, in Ammerland, near Starnberger See. German geographer, ethnographer, and sociologist. Professor at the University of Leipzig (from 1886). One of the founders of the school of human geography.
Ratzel’s main works dealt with the relationship between man and his natural environment. His mistaken conception about the determining influence of nature on culture and sociopolitical relations had an important influence on the formation of geopolitcs. Ratzel based his work in general geography on his travels in southern Europe and North America.
WORKSAnthropogeographie, vol. 1, 4th ed. Stuttgart, 1921. Vol. 2, 3rd ed.: Stuttgart, 1922.
Politische Geographie, 3rd ed. Munich-Berlin, 1923.
In Russian translation:
Narodovedenie, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1900–01.
Zemlia izhizn’, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1903–06.