Mister Johann Anderson...Reports on Iceland, Greenland, and the Davis Strait for the Proper Use of the Sciences and Commerce


Johann Anderson (1674-1743) was the son of a whaling ship owner from Hamburg, Germany. He became a lawyer, served in the Hamburg Senate, and was mayor of the city for many years. Anderson systematically gathered the available literature on Iceland, Greenland, and the adjacent seas, as well as gleaned information from sailors and merchants. This book, which he prepared mainly in the 1730s, was published in 1746, after his death. It includes descriptions of the land and peoples of Iceland and Greenland, and covers topics ranging from the herring fishery to the volumes of oil produced by different species of whales. Although he was wrong on some points, Anderson made scientific contributions in a number of areas. He developed a system for classifying species of whales and made estimates of commercial marine stocks that prefigured later work in fisheries biology. Appended to the work was a grammar and vocabulary of the Inuit language spoken on Greenland, and a selection of extracts from religious texts presented in German, Danish, and Inuit. Anderson’s book was valued throughout Europe, and was translated into and published in Danish (1748), Dutch (1750), and French (1750).

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Georg Christian Grund, Hamburg, Germany


Title in Original Language

Herrn Johann Anderson ... Nachrichten von Island, Grönland und der Strasse Davis zum wahren Nutzen der Wissenschaften und der Handlung

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

Illustrations, 4 folded plates, folded map. 20 centimeters


  • Includes appendix with Danish-German-Inuit language dictionary.

Last updated: August 26, 2016