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Ignacy Domeyko


Ignacy Domeyko (in Belarusian: Ігнат Дамейка — "Ihnat Damieyka"; in Polish, also spelled Domejko; in Lithuanian, Ignotas Domeika; July 31, 1802 – January 23, 1889, Santiago de Chile) was a famous 19th-century Polish geologist and mineralogist from present-day Belarus in the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been a confederated part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


Domeyko was born at Niedźwiadka (in Belarusian: Мядзьведка — Miadzviedka) Manor (Bear Cub Manor), near Nyasvizh, Navahradak district, Minsk Governorate, Imperial Russia (now Karelichy district, Belarus). In his time, his homeland was part of the Russian Empire, of which he was officially a citizen. Domeyko had, however, been brought up in the culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a multicultural entity that had been destroyed shortly before his birth, in the Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1795). For this reason, and because he subsequently spent most of his life in Chile, he is considered a person of national importance to four countries: Belarus, Chile, Lithuania and Poland.

Domeyko studied at Wilno University (the University of Vilnius, Lithuania) under Jędrzej Śniadecki, and at Paris' École des Mines. Involved on the Philomathes, a secret student organization dedicated to studying Polish culture and restoring Polish independence, he was a close friend of Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest Polish Romantic poet and Alexander Pushkin's rival as the greatest poet of East-central and Eastern Europe.

After participating in the November 1830 Uprising, an insurrection that sought to revive the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth, in 1831 Domeyko chose to emigrate to France rather than face Russian reprisals.

In 1838 he left for Chile and lived there until May 22, 1884, when he returned for an extended visit to Europe. He stayed four years in Poland, receiving an honorary doctorate from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and touring Europe, then returned to Chile.

Domeyko was a professor at a mining college in Coquimbo (La Serena) and later at the University of Chile (Universidad de Chile), of which he was rector for 16 years (1867-83).     Domeyko made substantial contributions to mineralogy and the technology of mining, studied several previously unknown minerals, advocated for the civil rights of the native tribal peoples, and was a meteorologist and ethnographer.

Named for him are the mineral Domeykit, the shellfish Nautilus domeykus, the ammonite Amonites domeykanus, asteroid 2784 Domeyko, the Cordillera Domeyko mountain range in the Andes, and the Chilean town of Domeyko.

On the 200th anniversary of Domeyko’s birth, UNESCO declared 2002 to be "Ignacy Domeyko Year." Several commemorative events were held in Chile under the auspices of Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos.

Descendants of Domeyko's remain prominent in diverse fields of Chilean life and culture.


  • Ignacy Domeyko (1962). Moje podróże: pamiętniki wygnańca (My Travels: Memoirs of an Exile). Wrocław: Ossolineum.  Polish language
  • Zbigniew Wójcik (1995). Ignacy Domeyko: Litwa, Francja, Chile (Ignacy Domeyko: Lithuania, France, Chile). Wrocław, Polskie Towarzystwo Ludoznawcze. ISBN 83-904914-2-7.  Polish language
  • Małgorzata Kośka (1998). Ignacy Domeyko. Warsaw, "DiG". ISBN 83-7181-062-8.  Polish language
  • Jadwiga Garbowska, Krzysztof Jakubowski (1995). Ignacy Domeyko: (1802-1889). Warsaw-Lida, Towarzystwo Kultury Polskiej Ziemi Lidzkiej. ISBN 83-901353-6-1.  Polish language
  • Zdzisław Jan Ryn (1994). Ignacio Domeyko - ciudadano de dos patrias (Ignacy Domeyko - citizen of two fatherlands). Antofagasta, Universidad Catolica del Norte.  Portuguese language
  • Zdzisław Jan Ryn (2002). Ignacy Domeyko - obywatel świata (Ignacy Domeyko - citizen of the world). Kraków, Jagiellonian University Press. ISBN 83-233-1552-3.  review, Polish language
  • Paz Domeyko Lea-Plaza. Ignacio Domeyko. La Vida de un Emigrante. Santiago, Chile.2002. Random House Mondadori (Editorial Sudamericana)ISBN 9562621618 Spanish language
  • Paz Domeyko. A Life in Exile. Ignacy Domeyko 1802-1889. Sydney, Australia 2005. ISBN 0646447289 }.9. English language. Available from author. See website Paz Domeyko,

See also


  • Biblioteca Polaca Ignacio Domeyko
  • List of Poles
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Ignacy Domeyko
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ignacy_Domeyko". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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