Élisée Reclus


Élisée Reclus : biography

15 March 1830 – 4 July 1905

In 1894, Reclus was appointed chair of comparative geography at the University of Brussels, and moved with his family to Belgium. His brother Élie Reclus already taught religion at the university. Élisée Reclus continued to write, contributing several important articles and essays to French, German and English scientific journals.

Shortly before his death, Reclus completed L’Homme et la terre (1905). (1905), e-text, Internet Archive In it, he added to his previous greater works by considering humanity’s development relative to its geographical environment.


    • Russia in Europe, etc. ()
    • Asiatic Russia ()
    • Europe: , , , ,
    • North America: , ,
  • Du sentiment de la nature dans les sociétés modernes et autres textes, Éditions Premières Pierres, 2002 – ISBN : 9782913534117


  • "The Progress of Mankind" (Contemporary Review, 1896)
  • "Attila de Gerando" (Revue Géographie, 1898)
  • "A Great Globe", Geograph. Journal, 1898
  • "L’Extrême-Orient" (Bulletin Antwerp Géographie Sociétie, 1898), a study of the political geography of the Far East and its possible changes
  • "La Perse" (Bulletin Sociétie Neuchateloise, 1899)
  • "La Phénice et les Phéniciens" (ibid., 1900)
  • "La Chine et la diplomatie européenne" (L’Humanité nouvelle series, 1900)
  • "L’Enseignement de la géographie" (Institute Géographie de Bruxelles, No 5, 1901)


Reclus was admired by many prominent 19th century thinkers, including Alfred Russel Wallace, George Perkins Marsh and Patrick Geddes, Henry Stephens Salt, and Octave Mirbeau. James Joyce was influenced by Reclus’ book La civilisation et les grands fleuves historiques.

Reclus advocated nature conservation and opposed meat-eating and cruelty to animals. He was a vegetarian. As a result, his ideas are seen by some historians as anticipating the modern social ecology and animal rights movements.