Oskar Lenz

Oskar Lenz (also: Heinrich Oskar Lenz) ( born April 13, 1848 in Leipzig, † 2 March 1925 Sooß ) was a German -Austrian explorer, mineralogist and geologist.

Life and work

Lenz, son of a shoemaker, graduated from the Leipzig Nicolai Gymnasium. From 1866 he studied at the University of Leipzig mineralogy and geology, and was there in 1870 to Dr. phil. doctorate. In 1870 he went to Vienna as a teacher at a private institution; In 1872, he joined as a volunteer in the k.k. Geological Imperial Institute, where he was in the same year, together with the Austrian citizenship, definitely made. He mappierte southern and eastern regions of Austria - Hungary. 1874-77 he was on leave in Vienna, as an explorer in the service of the Berlin-based German Society for the Study of equatorial Africa in the French colony of Gabon, where he worked mainly in the area of the river Ogowe. However, Lenz had the expedition due to illness as well as the refusal of his black companions, to go further, to cancel. On the way back he met Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who completed the investigation of the Ogowebeckens.

From 1877 to 1879 he participated in the Geological recordings in Eastern Galicia, with which multiple prehistoric excavations were also connected.

Greater success brought his second voyage, 1879-80. An expedition led by Lenz [note 1] for the first time crossed the Sahara from Morocco to Senegal [note 2]; Main focus of the trip included geological studies, especially those suspected in Northwest Africa iron ore deposits. In Timbuktu Lenz, who was considered the son of the African explorer Heinrich Barth was kindly received on 1 July 1880 although the general mood in the caravan city because of the French incursions from Senegal and Algeria in the direction of Niger heated and was latent xenophobic. Lenz and his companions had largely unmolested can travel, but took part of the researchers after his return to Europe particularly aggressive in the anti -Islamic agitation which sollte.Zitat justify colonial occupation of North and West Africa ideologically required.

After lectures on geographical companies in Spain, France and Germany Lenz was from mid- 1881 again at the Imperial Geological Institute and dealt with now first of all geographical work and took over the editorship of the monthly magazine from all parts of the world, was subsequently Secretary-General of the Imperial Geographical Society and, with March 7, 1885, Professor of Geography at the kk University of Chernivtsi. However, he did not get to take up this position because he kk from the Geographical Society was entrusted with the management of a leading in the newly constructed Congo State expedition. Their goal should be in addition to the attempt from the top of Congo, in a northeasterly direction to reach the upper Nilgebiete and to gain insight into the relationship between both waters watershed.

Chief aim of this lasting until 1887 expedition was the finding of actual trading conditions, founded in 1885 Congo Free State as well as the mapping of the Congo River. Lenz focused primarily on the geological and ethnographic studies, while his companion, at first, until his disease from diphtheria, Oscar Baumann (1864-1899), then Bohndorff Friedrich (1848-1894), were responsible for the mapping of the area. Adverse conditions, especially the lack of a sufficient military power, pushed his plan to reach the areas north of the Congo, fail - but the company succeeded in the uniform traversal of the African continent from the mouth of the Congo to the mouth of the Zambesi.

For about 1,600 kilometers of rivers, of Pool Malebo ( at today's Kinshasa ) upstream to Kisangani ( 0.5166666666666725.199722222222 ), required the research group, since December 29, 1885 aboard the new, provided by the government of the Congo Free State available steamer H. M. Stanley, 48 days. In Kisangani, however, Lenz met the ( European researchers well-disposed ) slave and ivory traders Tippoo Tip ( 1837/38-1905 ), the most influential personality in East Africa that time, the discouraged him from an expedition in the highly insecure areas north of the Congo, for him the next continue on the strong flowing Congo (beyond the Stanley Falls ) were three heavy canoes (à 6-8 rowers ) for virtually nothing and give him some of his Arab followers turned for protection against attacks ( anthropophager ) local to the side.

According to ( again ) 48 days the canoes reached Nynagwe ( -4.26998126.248398 ) ( Maniema province ), a trading post whose importance was realized in favor of Kasongo ( -4.42377526.67017 ), the headquarters of Tippoo tips on the wane. On May 23, 1886, the expedition arrived at the 15 km further inland Kasongo - and later came from there overland passages from Tanganyika to Lake Nyasa and Shire and Zambezi on 13 December 1886 the Indian Ocean. The journey home led across Mozambique ( which he reached on 14 January 1887), Zanzibar [note 3] and Aden.

In March 1887 Lenz was back in Vienna, and in June after he became a full professor at the German University of Prague, where he succeeded in 1875 created Chair of Geography Dionys Green ( 1819-1896 ), a geographical institute einrichtete and a teaching tradition founded. Lenz was 1892/93 Dean, 1902/ 03 Rector; In 1909, he voluntarily resigned to retire.

Oskar Lenz, who had settled around 1895 in the town of Sooß, died ( a year after the death of his wife, Paula, born Ridolfi ) a stroke. He was buried in the local cemetery of Sooß to rest on March 5, 1925. [Note 4]


  • Notes on the ancient glaciers of the Rhine valley. In: Yearbook of the Imperial and Royal Imperial Geological Institute. 24.1874 tape, ZDB - ID 217948-9. Braumüller, Vienna 1874, pp. 325-332. - Full-text online.
  • Travel on the Ogowe in West Africa. Reports of Dr. Oskar Lenz to the Management Board of Deutsche African society. In: Petermann: Mittheilungen from Justus Perthes ' ​​Geographical Institute. Volume 21, born in 1875, ZDB - ID 2143291-0, pp. 121-130. - Full-text online.
  • Travel on the Okande in West Africa. Report to the Board of the German African Society in Berlin. In: Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin. 10.1875 tape, ZDB - ID 2155431-6. Geographical Society, Berlin 1875, pp. 236-265. - Full-text online as well as map a trip to the Bajaka countries online.
  • Sketches from West Africa. Even experiences of Oskar Lenz. Hofmann, Berlin 1878 -. Fulltext online.
  • The working conditions in the trade -Factor estates West Africa. In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1879, pp. 8 ( online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor. The Gold Coast in West Africa (Part 1 /3). In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1879, pp. 27-31. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.
  • The Gold Coast in West Africa (Part 2 /3). In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1879, pp. 52-56. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.
  • The Gold Coast in West Africa (Part 3 /3). In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1879, pp. 78-82. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.
  • FAS, the residence of the Sultan Muley Hassan (Part 2 /2). In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1884, pp. 129-134. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.
  • The German Colonial efforts in West Africa. In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1884, pp. 241-245. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.
  • The Congo. In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1884, pp. 293-298. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.
  • From the Austrian Congo Expedition. In: Monthly Journal of the Orient, Volume 1885, pp. 228-235. (Online at ANNO ) Template: ANNO / Maintenance / mor.

Awards, Awards, Honors

  • Silver Charles Knight Medal ( 1881)
  • Franz von Hauer Medal (1918, on the occasion of the 70th birthday )

Literature sources

  • A ( ugust ) Petermann ( Eds.): Mittheilungen from Justus Perthes ' ​​Geographical Institute of important new explorations on the Gesammtgebiete of geography. Dates of publication: 1.1855-14.1868; 15.1869-24.1878. Perthes, Gotha ( among others ), ZDB - ID 2657407 -X. The recent research on the Ogowe. (Part 1 /2). Volume 24, born 1878, pp. 106-110. - Full-text online.
  • The recent research on the Ogowe. (Part 2 /2). Volume 24, born 1878, pp. 426 ff - full text online.