Hermann Blumenau

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Hermann Blumenau (1819-1899)

Hermann Bruno Otto Blumenau (Born in Hasselfelde, December 26, 1819 – October 30, 1899) was a German pharmacist who founded the city of Blumenau, situated in the Itajaí-Açu river valley in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Hermann Bruno Otto Blumenau was the sixth son of a forest inspector, born in Hasselfelde, Duchy of Brunswick —a part of Harz in present-day Saxony-Anhalt. He studied pharmaceutical chemistry from the age of 15 through the remainder of his teenage years, and aspired to study chemistry at university. From 1840 to 1841 he worked in a pharmacy in Hasselfelde. He later worked in a pharmacy in Erfurt, where he met Alexander Humboldt and Justus von Liebig.

Soon after, Blumenau visited London with the Consul-General of Brazil, Johan Jacob Sturz, and decided to emigrate. He returned to Germany in 1844 to study chemistry at the University of Erlangen. He received his doctorate in 1846, and returned to Brazil for two years.

In 1850, Blumenau established a mostly-German colony which he eponymously named "Blumenau". He developed the settlement from 1850 through 1859, but in 1860 the Brazilian regime claimed the growing village. He remained as the first official director, overseeing a population of 947.

Blumenau founded schools and hospitals in his growing city, and by 1880 its population totaled approximately 15,000 people, most of whom were Germans. This population has managed to preserve its German heritage and, even today, German schools still prevail. In 1884, Blumenau returned to Braunschweig, Germany with his wife (whom he married in 1867) and their three sons. He died on October 30 1899 in Braunschweig.

Today, the city of Blumenau is home to more than 300,000 people, and boasts one of the highest standards of living in Brazil.

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