Eagle Hill Masthead

Northeastern Naturalist
    NENA Home
    Range and Scope
    Board of Editors
    Editorial Workflow
    Publication Charges

Other Eagle Hill Science Journals
    Southeastern Naturalist
    Caribbean Naturalist
    Neotropical Naturalist
    Urban Naturalist
    Prairie Naturalist
    Eastern Paleontologist
    Journal of the North Atlantic

Eagle Hill Institute Home


About Northeastern Naturalist



Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 8, Special Issue 1 (2001):3–4

Full-text pdf (Accessible only to subscribers.To subscribe click here.)


Access Journal Content

Open access browsing of table of contents and abstract pages. Full text pdfs available for download for subscribers.

Issue-in-Progress: Vol.30 (1) ... early view

Current Issue: Vol. 29 (4)
NENA 29(4)

All Regular Issues


Special Issues






JSTOR logoClarivate logoWeb of science logoBioOne logo EbscoHOST logoProQuest logo

Proceedings: Alexander von Humboldt’s Natural History Legacy and Its Relevance for Today 2001 Northeastern Naturalist Special Issue 1:3-4 ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT’S NATURAL HISTORY LEGACY AND ITS RELEVANCE FOR TODAY – OPENING REMARKS THE HON. LIC. ARMANDO GONZÁLEZ-ANGARITA * For the Venezuelan Consulate in Boston, and specifically for me, the reasons which bring us together today are of extraordinary significance, since to be able to participate, even for a few minutes, in an homage to Alexander von Humboldt is, for us Venezuelans, far more than an obligation, but rather a privilege, an honor, and a source of immense satisfaction. And it is specially so, in this case, because of the high level of erudition and distinction of the conference participants, all of whom, originating from different spheres of human knowledge, have appointed this occasion to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Humboldt’s arrival, together with that of his no less celebrated French companion, the physician Aimé Bonpland, in the tropical regions of the world. A wide variety of topics, dealing with Humboldt’s legacy, will be brilliantly addressed in the course of this symposium by a privileged cross section of North American, German, and Venezuelan intellectuality, the latter being represented by the illustrious compatriots Dr. Otto Huber of the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Dr. Gustavo Romero of Harvard University, and Dr. Diogenes Palau Patiño of the Venezuelan Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources. Consequently, considering the quality of the presenters, there is little that remains for me to add in respect to the work and mark left by Baron Humboldt. To do otherwise would undoubtedly constitute an unforgivable act of unawareness. Simply allow me to remind you that Alexander von Humboldt left his mark on the natural sciences, and did so, in great part, in my country. For Venezuelans, therefore, Humboldt is a prominent part of our national essence. He observed and explained us through the natural sciences, and made similar efforts in other fields of knowledge, such as politics, economics and sociology. In the words of the Liberator Simón Bolívar, “Humboldt is the discoverer of the New World, whose knowledge has done more good for America than all the Conquistadores combined.” Today, in Venezuela, the reputation generated by his work continues to keep his memory alive. His name shines everywhere. Towns, parks, * Consul General, Consulate of Venezuela in Boston, 545 Boylston Street, Third Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02116. 4 Northeastern Naturalist Special Issue 1 academies, associations, schools, avenues, streets, and countless other things exalt him. Among them is the Mt. Humboldt, with its 4,942 meters of altitude, and its no less important twin, Mt. Bonpland, in the Venezuelan Andes. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of his journey to America, a series of conferences, expositions, and other events have been scheduled in my country, in addition to other festivities which are taking place around the world. A “Presidential Commission for the Commemoration of Alexander von Humboldt’s Arrival to Venezuela” was created in 1998, and earlier this year, when President Hugo Chávez Frías assumed power, a further commitment to this project was made. In February, the sailboat Alexander von Humboldt arrived in La Guaira after having traveled the baron’s route from Europe to Venezuela. In March, a magnificent exposition entitled “A Journey Towards Wonder” was held in Caracas under the auspices of the German Embassy, the Humboldt Cultural Association, the Goethe Institute, and the aforementioned commission. Also this year, the President of the Commemorative Commission, Luisa Veracoechea, published a splendid book entitled “Alexander von Humboldt in Venezuela: Second Centennial of his Journey to America.” And lastly, here in Boston, under the auspices of the Venezuelan consulate, among other Iberoamerican representations, the film “Free Air,” by the Venezuelan director Luis Armando Roche, which also captured Humboldt’s work, was exhibited last May. The events noted merely represent some of the occasions which Venezuelans have promoted or collaborated with, during this year, to celebrate this anniversary. Finally, before closing, allow me to congratulate the organizers of this symposium: the American Philosophical Society and the German Embassy in the United States. Let me also felicitate the co-sponsors: the Humboldt Field Research Institute, The Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University, and the German Consulate in Boston. Thank you for your kind invitation and congratulations again for this extraordinary initiative, which is nothing but a further demonstration of your permanent commitment to honor Humboldt’s memory. I am happy to introduce to you John Silber, Chancellor of Boston University.