Petermann's Geographical Communications

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Petermann's Geographical Communications
Title page of the first edition, 1855
Area of ​​Expertise geography
publishing company Klett-Perthes (until 1937: Justus Perthes ), Gotha
First edition March 16,  1855
attitude 2004
Frequency of publication bi-monthly
Web link
ZDB 205968-x

The journal Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen (PGM for short), founded by August Heinrich Petermann , was the oldest German-language specialist journal for geography in which all of the important geographical discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries were published.


"Petermanns Mitteilungen" appeared for the first time on March 16, 1855 in the publishing house Justus Perthes in Gotha under the title "Mittheilungen aus Justus Perthes' Geographischer Anstalt about important new researches in the whole area of ​​geography by Dr. A. Petermann ". The publication of the discoveries of the great North Africa expedition 1849–1855 by Heinrich Barth and Adolf Overweg brought the young magazine a circulation of more than 4,000 copies for the first time. Petermann succeeded in stimulating further expeditions to explore Australia and the polar regions and to secure the publication of their reports and research results for the "Mitteilungen". As the popularity of the magazine increased, Petermann expanded the "Mitteilungen" with the supplementary books , in which the larger original research reports were published from 1860 onwards. Sven Hedin published the research reports on his expeditions here. Even Alfred Wegener's continental drift theory "The Origin of Continents" was printed in the magazine 1912th A considerable part of the contributions made up into the 1890s the reports of missionaries who - without being academically trained geographers - were often the first to describe geographically and / or ethnologically previously unknown regions to the “whites”.

Until the second quarter of the 20th century, the official title “Dr. A. Petermann's communications from Justus Perthe's geographical institution ”. Only then was this dropped in favor of the more catchy PGM title.

The magazine's recipe for success was based on the combination of the exclusive publication of research reports from all over the world with the addition of excellent cartographic material. In addition to the professional audience, the magazine served the interests of the educated middle class across Europe. In theoretical terms, too, it was one of the leading bodies in the geosciences .

The adventure writer Karl May used information on the history of the discovery of the Yellowstone area and the size of Yellowstone Park from the article "The newly discovered geyser areas on the upper Yellowstone and Madison Rivers", published in Petersmann's Geographical Mitheilungen in 1872, for the story of Winnetou's death and the Novel " The Bear Hunter's Son ".

The publication of PGM was discontinued in the 149th year at the end of 2004.


  • Imre Josef Demhardt (Ed.): Giving the earth a face. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen and the beginnings of modern geography in Germany (= publications of the Gotha Research Library. Vol. 42). University of Erfurt, Erfurt 2006, ISBN 3-910027-21-0 .
  • Sebastian Lentz , Ferjan Ormeling (Hrsg.): The spatialization of the world image. Petermann's Geographical Communications between “exploratory geography” and the “presumptuousness” of European spatial fantasies (= Friedenstein research. Vol. 2). Steiner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-08830-5 .
  • Steffen Siegel, Petra Weigel (ed.): The cartographer's workshop. Materials and practices of visual world creation (= Laboratory Enlightenment. Vol. 9). Fink, Paderborn 2011, ISBN 978-3-7705-5187-3 .
  • Jan Smits: Petermann's Maps. Carto-bibliography of the maps in Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen. 1855–1945 (= Utrechtse historical-cartographic studies. Vol. 3). Hes & de Graaf, 't Goy-Houten 2004, ISBN 90-6194-249-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. Alfred Wegener: The emergence of the continents . In: Petermann's communications . 1912, p. 185-195, 253-256, 305-309 .
  2. Dirk van Overmeire: A dilemma in modernity. A geography study of the mission or the colony? Missionary parentheses in geography's guide to a modern apostleship (1822–1919) . Diss. (PhD), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven , Leuven 2017.
  3. ^ Bernhard Kosciuszko: A dangerous area.

Web links

Commons : Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen  - collection of images, videos and audio files