Geographer’s Day in Russia Date in the current year: August 18, 2024

Geographer’s Day in Russia Geographer’s Day is a Russian professional holiday that was officially created in May 2020. It is celebrated on August 18 to commemorate the foundation of the Russian Geographical Society on this day in 1845.

Geography is a discipline that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth. It is an all-encompassing field of science that is typically divided into two major fields: physical geography, which focuses on the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment, and human geography, which focuses on human interaction with the environment. These two fields are not opposites but complement each other.

Practices of geography, such as map-making (cartography), had existed long before Greek polymath Eratosthenes used the term “geography” for the first time. For millennia, geography remained a mostly applied science tied to exploration, trade and conquest. However, the European Age of Discovery demonstrated the need for more solid theoretical foundations.

When geography became recognized as a field of study in the early 18th century, geographic societies began to emerge. The Russian Geographical Society was the third such organization to be founded, after the French Société de Géographie and the British Royal Geographical Society. The mastermind behind its creation was Fyodor Litke (Friedrich Benjamin von Lütke), Russian geographer, navigator, Arctic explorer and the tutor of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, the second son of Tsar Nicholas I. The Society was officially founded on August 18 (August 6 O. S.), 1845, with Konstantin as its president.

The founding members of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society included many notable navigators, scientists and military leaders, such as Admiral Johann von Krusenstern, Ferdinand von Wrangel, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve, Konstantin Arseniev, Vladimir Odoyevsky, Vladimir Dal, and others. The structure of the society originally included the departments of physical geography, mathematical geography, statistics and ethnography, the political and economic committee, the seismic commission, and the commission for the study of the Arctic.

The Society has been functioning uninterruptedly since its inception, although its name has changed several times. Its members made a significant contribution to the exploration of various regions of Russia and other territories, including Central Asia, Iran, the Caucasus, India, Papua New Guinea, etc. Today, the Russian Geographical Society has over 25,000 members in Russia and abroad. In addition to expeditions and research, it is engaged in educational and environmental activities, book publishing, and work with young people.

Geographer’s Day in Russia, celebrated on the Society’s foundation anniversary, is the professional holiday of all Russian geographers (scientists, teachers, students, government employees, employees of commercial and non-profit organizations) and people of related professions who contribute to promoting geography. Its main goal is to raise public awareness of the importance of geographical knowledge.

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Geographer’s Day in Russia, holidays in Russia, professional holidays, Russian Geographical Society