Hans Meyer

Birth: 1858


Hans Heinrich Josef Meyer (March 22, 1858 - July 5, 1929) was a German explorer and publisher. He was born in Hildburghausen, Germany on 22 March 1858. He was educated at Leipzig, Berlin and Strassburg, afterward traveling in India, North America and South Africa. Subsequently he visited East Africa and South America. He entered the publishing house of his father, the Bibliographisches Institut at Leipzig, in 1884, and in the following year became one of the directors of the firm; but at intervals he continued his exploring expeditions.

In 1887, during his first attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, Meyer reached the base of Kibo, but was forced to turn back. He did not have the equipment necessary to handle the deep snow and ice on Kibo. In 1888, alongside the Austrian cartographer Oscar Baumann, he explored the Usambara region, with designs of continuing on to Mount Kilimanjaro. However, the two explorers could not proceed on, due to events related with the so-called Abushiri Revolt. Baumann and Meyer, within a matter of days, were captured and held as prisoners. Only after a large ransom was paid to rebel leader Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi were the two men released.

In 1889 Meyer returned to Kilimanjaro with the celebrated Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller for a third attempt. Their climbing team included two local headmen, nine porters, a cook, and a guide. After Meyer and Purtscheller pushed to near the crater rim on October 3 before retreating to the base of Kibo, they reached the summit on the southern rim of the crater on Purtscheller's 40th birthday, October 6, 1889. Meyer named this summit - now known as Uhuru Point- "Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze".

After descending to the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi, they attempted to climb Mawenzi next, but only reached a subsidiary peak (Klute Peak) before retreating due to illness. In Meyer's honor, the highest summit of Mawenzi nevertheless is known as Hans Meyer Peak. The summit of Kibo would not be climbed again until 20 years later, and the first ascent of Hans Meyer Peak was only in 1912.

In 1899 he became a professor at the University of Leipzig, where in 1915 he was appointed director of the Institute for Colonial Geography. In addition to his African exploits, Meyer did extensive mountain climbing in the Canary Islands (1894) and Ecuador (1904). Among his explorations are the ascent and survey of the summit of Kilbo Peak in East Africa in 1889 and 1898; and die Ecuadorian Cordilleras in 1903. Author of 'Zum Schneedom des Kilimandscharo' (1888); 'Der Kilimandjero' (1900); 'Die Eisenbahnen im tropischen Africa' (1902); 'In den Hoch Anden von Ecuador' (1907), etc.


The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)

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