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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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