Philip Johan von Strahlenberg

Philip Johan von Strahlenberg (1676–1747) was a Swedish officer and geographer of German origin who made important contributions to the cartography of Russia. He was the first geographer to promote the “Ural border” idea, which determined the Ural mountains and river as the eastern borders of the European continent.

Taking part in the Great Northern War, he was captured by the victorious Russian forces during the Battle of Poltava in 1709. As a prisoner of war, he was sent to Tobolsk, where he lived from 1711 to 1721. During this time, he studied the geography of Siberia and the anthropology, languages and customs of its native tribes. After returning to Stockholm in 1730, he published his book Das Nord- und Ostliche Theil von Europa und Asia (North and Eastern Parts of Europe and Asia) with the results of his studies. The book was well received and soon translated into English, French and Spanish.

As part of his book, Strahlenberg and Johan Anton von Matérn drew new maps of all of Russia.

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