Carsten Niebuhr (March 17, 1733 – April 26, 1815) was a German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer in the service of Denmark. Neibuhr was born in Lüdingworth (now a part of Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony) in what was then Bremen-Verden. He studied surveying and in 1757, attended the Georgia Augusta University of Göttingen, then Germany's most progressive university. Ther he studied mathematics, cartography, and navigational astronomy under Tobias Mayer (1723 - 1762), one of the premier astronomers of the 18th century. On the strength of his academics he was recommended for the Royal Danish Arabia Expedition (1761 - 1767), of which he was the sole survivor of the enterprise. (This feat appears to have been achieved by electing to eat native food, and wear native dress.) Happily, Niebuhr was able to publish extensively on the strength of his experience, issuing what is generally considered to constitute the greatest single addition to the cartography of Arabia in the 18th century. In 1806 he was promoted to Etatsrat, and in 1809 was made a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog. Among his fans were none other than Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), who, writing to Neibuhr's son Barthold Georg Niebuhr, said, 'You carry a name which I have learned to honor since my youth.'

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