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Société de Géographie

Société de Géographie

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The Société de Géographie (French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, "Geographical Society"), is the world's oldest geographical society. It was founded in 1821 (the first of all). Since 1878, its headquarters has been at 184 Boulevard Saint-Germain
Boulevard Saint-Germain
The Boulevard Saint-Germain is a major street in Paris on the Left Bank of the Seine river. It curves in a 3.5 kilometer arc from the Pont de Sully in the east to the Pont de la Concorde in the west and traverses the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements...

, Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The entrance is marked by two gigantic caryatids
A caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese...

 representing Land and Sea. It was here, in 1879, that the construction of the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 was decided.


The Geographical Society was founded at a meeting, 15 December 1821, in the Paris Hôtel de Ville and among its 217 founders were some of the greatest scientific names of the time: Pierre-Simon Laplace
Pierre-Simon Laplace
Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace was a French mathematician and astronomer whose work was pivotal to the development of mathematical astronomy and statistics. He summarized and extended the work of his predecessors in his five volume Mécanique Céleste...

, the Society's first president; Georges Cuvier
Georges Cuvier
Georges Chrétien Léopold Dagobert Cuvier or Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier , known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist...

, Charles Pierre Chapsal
Charles Pierre Chapsal
Charles Pierre Chapsal was a French grammarian, editor of the Classics and a founding member in 1821 of the Société de Géographie.Chapsal was born in Paris and taught at the Collège Louis-le-Grand. His principal work was his Nouvelle Grammaire Française in which he collaborated with...

, Vivant Denon
Dominique Vivant
Dominique Vivant, Baron de Denon was a French artist, writer, diplomat, author, and archaeologist. He was appointed first director of the Louvre Museum by Napoleon after the Egyptian campaign of 1798-1801.-Biography:...

, Joseph Fourier
Joseph Fourier
Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier was a French mathematician and physicist best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series and their applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations. The Fourier transform and Fourier's Law are also named in his honour...

, Gay-Lussac, Claude Louis Berthollet
Claude Louis Berthollet
Claude Louis Berthollet was a Savoyard-French chemist who became vice president of the French Senate in 1804.-Biography:...

, Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt...

, Champollion, François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.-Early life and exile:...

 among them. Most of those men who had accompanied Bonaparte in his Egyptian expedition were members: Edmé François Jomard, Conrad Malte-Brun
Conrad Malte-Brun
Conrad Malte-Brun , born Malthe Conrad Bruun, was a Danish-French geographer and journalist. His second son, Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun, was also a geographer.-Biography:...

, Jules Dumont d'Urville
Jules Dumont d'Urville
Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville was a French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral, who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.-Childhood:Dumont was born at Condé-sur-Noireau...

, Jules Paul Benjamin Delessert
Jules Paul Benjamin Delessert
Jules Paul Benjamin Delessert was a French banker and naturalist.He was born at Lyon, the son of Étienne Delessert , the founder of the first fire insurance company and the first discount bank in France...

, Hottinguer, Henri Didot
Didot is the name of a family of French printers, punch-cutters and publishers. Through its achievements and advancements in printing, publishing and typography, the family has lent its name to typographic measurements developed by François-Ambroise Didot and the Didot typeface developed by Firmin...

, Bottin
Guglielmo "William" BOTTIN is a music producer, dj and sound designer, based in Venice, Italy. As sound artist he was selected for Fabrica, the Benetton creative research center founded by Oliviero Toscani. For Colors Magazine he curated the Color Music series, presented at the Sónar festival in...

 and others.

The Society was the location of the Arab Congress of 1913
Arab Congress of 1913
The Arab Congress of 1913 met in a hall of the French Geographical Society at 184 Boulevard Saint-Germain from June 18–23 in Paris to discuss reforms to grant Arabs more autonomy under the Ottoman Empire...

, which took place from June 18 to June 23 of that year and marked the confluence of events surrounding the decline of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the beginnings of Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

, and early Arab reaction to Zionist immigration to Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....



The Society's revue has appeared monthly since 1822, as Bulletin de la Société de Géographie (1822-1899)—offering in octavo format early news of all the discoveries of the nineteenth century—or quarterly, as La Géographie, with a break in 1940-46. Since 1947 the Society's magazine has appeared three times a year, as Acta Geographica. The Society's library, map collection and photograph collection are among the world's most comprehensive and deepest.