French geographer, traveler, anarchist and writer born in 1830 in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande (Gironde). He studies geography at Berlin University with Karl Ritter, one of the founders of modern geography. In 1851, he his forced to exile in London and Ireland after his opposition to the «coup d’état» on Napoleon III. He then moves to America (Louisiana) a year later, and, in 1856, settles in the Sierra Nevada where he becomes real sick, forcing him to return to France a year later.
In Paris, he meets Michael Bakunin and becomes actively involved in the anarchist movement. He writes a lot on anarchy and also does great work has a geographer. In 1871, he takes part in the Paris Commune before being made prisoner on April 4. After spending a year in prison, he his forced to exile and goes to Switzerland where he will stay for 18 years (except when traveling). In 1877, he will meet Peter Kropotkin (Russian geographer and anarchist) with whom he will build a good friendship. In 1883-1884, he travels to Asia Minor, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia and, in 1889, to North America for the second time.
He leaves Switzerland in 1890 and settles in Paris where he will stay for 4 years before voluntarily exiling himself to Belgium where he will teach at the University in Bruxelles (Brussels). He will die there in 1905.
Some of his writings:
- 1851 : Le Développement de la liberté dans le Monde
- 1861 : Voyage à la Sierra Nevada
- 1864 : Les Volcans et les Tremblements de Terre
- 1865 : La Sicile et l'éruption de l'Etna
- 1869 : La Terre
- 1875 : Start of «Nouvelle Géographie Universelle»
- 1880 : Evolution et Révolution
- 1894 : End of «Nouvelle Géographie Universelle»
- 1897 : L'Evolution, la Révolution et l'Idéal anarchique
- 1905 : L’homme et la Terre
He is mostly remembered for his work «Nouvelle Géographie Universelle», a 19 volume fat masterpiece written between 1875 and 1894. Each volume describes a geographical zone of Earth and is complemented with maps.
His work has an anarchist and a geographer has lead him (along with Peter Kropotkin) to become a founder of what is now called social ecology. Social ecology has more recently been developed and associated with American anarchist Murray Bookchin.