Smithsonian Channel Readies Humboldt Doc


Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of the German researcher and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, Smithsonian Channel is set to launch a new documentary about his journey through Latin America.

Humboldt: Epic Explorer (Humboldt: Explorador Épico) will have its Latin American television premiere on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 10 p.m., exclusively through Smithsonian Channel on DirecTV. The one-hour program features historian Andrea Wulf, author of the best-selling book about the explorer, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World.

The title takes the audience on a journey through Humboldt’s life, beginning with a difficult childhood near Berlin to his legendary expedition through South America—from the Orinoco River to the Andes mountain range—in which he makes wonderful discoveries about the natural world.

Wulf and a production team travel to the region and remember Humboldt’s intricate journey retracing part of his expedition, delving into some of his discoveries. Among his most revolutionary ideas was a radical conception of nature as a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the exclusive use of humanity.

It was in 1799, when Humboldt was only 29 years old, that he started the famous expedition which had two main objectives: to conduct the first scientific research in South America and discover how the natural world really works, at a time when most scientists believed that the world had been created less than 6,000 years ago. Thus, began his tour of Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, and Cuba documenting different languages, climbing famous mountains such as the Chimborazo volcano, studying Aztec artifacts and navigating mighty rivers.

The show was produced by Spiegel TV for Smithsonian Networks, ZDF and ZDF Enterprises in association with ARTE, under the direction of Tilman Remme.