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ARCHENHOLZ, JOHANN WILHELM VON (1743-1812), German historian, was born at Langfuhr, a suburb of Danzig, on the 3rd of September 1743. From the Berlin Cadet school he passed into the Prussian army at the age of sixteen, and took part in the last campaigns of the Seven Years’ War. Retiring from military service, on account of his wounds, with the rank of captain in 1763, he travelled for sixteen years and visited nearly all the countries of Europe, and resided in England for ten years (1769-1779). Returning to Germany in 1780, he obtained a lay canonry at the cathedral of Magdeburg, and immediately entered upon a literary career by publishing the periodical Litteratur- und Völkerkunde (Leipzig, 1782-1791). This was followed in 1785 by England und Italien (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1787), in which he gives a remarkably unprejudiced appreciation of English political and social institutions. Between 1789 and 1798 he published his Annalen der britischen Geschichte (20 vols). But the work by which he is best known to fame is his brilliantly written history of the Seven Years’ War, Geschichte des siebenjährigen Krieges (first published in the Berliner historisches Taschenbuch of 1787, and later in 2 vols., Berlin, 1793; 13th ed., Leipzig, 1892). This work, though as regards the main facts and details it only follows other writers, is still a useful source of information upon the epoch with which it deals. In 1792 Archenholz removed to Hamburg, and there, from 1792 to 1812, edited the journal Minerva, which had a great reputation for its literary, historical and political information. Archenholz died at his country seat, Oyendorf, near Hamburg, on the 28th of February 1812.
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