Henri Mouhot

Henri Mouhot was a French naturalist and explorer who is best known for his exploration of Southeast Asia and his discovery of the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. He was born in 1826 in Montbeliard, France, and was the son of a wealthy family. He was educated at the University of Paris and the University of Montpellier, where he studied natural history and zoology.

Mouhot first became interested in exploration when he read the works of Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin. He was inspired by their accounts of their travels and wanted to explore the world himself. In 1856, he set out on his first expedition to Algeria, where he studied the flora and fauna of the region. He then traveled to Egypt, where he studied the ancient ruins of the Nile Valley.

In 1860, Mouhot set out on his most famous expedition, to Southeast Asia. He traveled through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, studying the flora and fauna of the region. He was the first Westerner to explore the ruins of Angkor Wat, which he described as “a rival to those of Thebes, and perhaps surpassing them.” He also wrote extensively about the people and cultures he encountered on his travels.

Mouhot's writings about his travels were widely read in Europe and helped to popularize the region. He was also an important figure in the development of the field of anthropology, as his writings provided valuable insights into the cultures of Southeast Asia.

Mouhot died in 1861, while on an expedition to the Mekong River. His death was a great loss to the scientific community, as he had made many important contributions to the field of natural history. His writings and discoveries remain an important part of the history of exploration and anthropology.

Mouhot's legacy lives on in the form of the Henri Mouhot Award, which is given annually to a scientist who has made significant contributions to the field of natural history. The award is a testament to Mouhot's legacy and his impact on the field of exploration and anthropology.