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HE next International Geographical Congress will be held in Washington under the auspices of the National Geographic Society. The acceptance of the invitation extended by the Society has just been received by President Graham Bell from Baron von Richthofen, President of the Executive Committee of the last Congress. This will be the first time the Congress will have assembled in the Western Hemisphere, so that the event will be of much importance to American geographers. The Congress will not be held until 1904, which will allow ample time for the preparation of a program and of a series of excursions to points of geographic interest.

The object of the Geographical Congresses is to stimulate interest in geographic work, and also to promote harmony in methods of work. It is now thirty years since the first Congress was held, at Antwerp. In 1869 the people of Belgium, by popular subscription, had raised a fund to erect statues to the great Flemish geographers, Mercator and Ortelius. The feeling that the work of these famous men of the sixteenth

century deserved more than local homage led to the arrangement for an international festival at Antwerp in their honor. The festival took place August 14-22, 1871. Many geographers from many nations gathered in the old Flemish town, and at the meeting papers of much scientific importance were read. So great was the interest and enthusiasm of all, and so apparent the advantage of such a meeting of geographers of all nations, most of them with different ideas and different methods, that a resolution was passed to continue the Congress periodically. The name given to the first Congress was "Congrés des Sciences geographiques, cosmographiques, et commerciales," the importance of the commercial element in a strictly geographical sense being thus recognized definitely.

At this time a revival in popular interest in explorations swept over Europe. The discoveries of Livingstone during the preceding years in the heart of Africa had awakened the world to the immense unknown portions of the earth's surface. Then came Stanley's march across Africa and the tremendous

excitement aroused by his discoveries of millions of people along the Kongo. Geographical societies were founded everywhere. In the ten years from 1871 to 1880 thirty-nine important societies were founded, whereas only about twenty had existed before that decade. Chairs in geography were established at different universities, and the applications of geography to education, to commerce, and to national policy were everywhere recognized.

The second Congress was held in Paris in 1875. Ferdinand de Lesseps, then at the height of his fame, President of the Geographical Society of Paris, presided. The meeting marked an advance in enthusiasm and numbers.

The third met at Venice, six years later. It was carried out on a grander scale than either of its predecessors and was given national importance by the Italians. The King and Queen of Italy and the highest political officials were present at the opening ceremony. The Congress was specially noted for the magnificent exhibition organized by the Italian Geographical Society.

In connection with the Paris Exhibition of 1889 an international conference on geography was held, which was afterward adopted as the fourth International Geographical Congress. very valuable papers summarizing the geographic work done by the principal nations of Europe during the nineteenth century were presented to the conference.


In the summer of 1891 the city of Berne celebrated the seventh centenary of the foundation of the town, and, at the earnest invitation of its citizens, the fifth Geographical Congress was held in connection with the celebration. A good exhibition of maps and geographical text books, for the most part by Swiss geographers, was the chief feature of interest. At this Congress the members voted to hold future meetings not oftener than once in three years or more rarely than once in five.

London was the scene of the sixth Congress, which was held under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society. This was the first Geographical Congress at which the National Geographic Society had representatives, for at the time of the preceding meeting the society had been in existence but three years. Gen. A. W. Greely, U. S. A.; Mr. W. W. Rockhill, and Miss Eliza R. Scidmore represented the Society at this meeting. Polar explorations received considerable discussion, in which, naturally, General Greely took a prominent part.

Meantime there had been a growing feeling that the part played by Amercans in the promotion of exploration should be recognized by a meeting of the Congress in the United States, and at this Congress a cordial invitation by the National Geographic Society to hold the next meeting in Washington was in the hands of our representatives. It was deemed advisable, however, to convene in Berlin.

At the Congress held at Berlin in the summer of 1899 as many as 1,600 persons were enrolled as members actually in attendance. Baron von Richthofen, president of the Geographical Society of Berlin, and recently appointed Foreign Minister of Germany, presided over the sessions of the Congress, which were held in the building of the Prussian House of Representatives. One pleasant feature of the meeting was a series of excursions to points of geographic interest within a few hours of Berlin. The National Geographic Society was represented by the following members: Hon. Andrew D. White, United States Embassador to Germany; Gen. A. W. Greely; Dr. Marcus Baker, of the U. S. Geological Survey; Prof. Wm. M. Davis, of Harvard University, and Miss Eliza R. Scidmore.

The invitation of the Society to hold the next Congress in Washington under its auspices was informally renewed.

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Gold Medalist of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Société de Géographie de Paris

sonian Institution, with its great museums and splendid Bureau of Ethnology; the Geological Survey, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Weather Bureau, the Fish Commission, the Census Bureau, the General Land Office,

War Department, are among the institutions engaged in promoting geographic research.

The National Geographic Society of America, the host of the next International Geographical Congress, represents

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