The oldest information preserved by the historical tradition around Germanic populations dates back to the second half of the century. IV a. C. and comes to us from the Massiliot Pitea. The first to have direct contact with the Germans were the Romans, who entered into relations with them in Gaul. As we know from Caesar (B. Germany, II, 4), Condrusi, Eburones, waxy and paemani who had crossed the Rhine and settled in Belgica, with only one name they called themselves Germans(v. Germanic, peoples). Of this denomination Caesar, who had recognized how these populations differed from the Celts, can also be used to designate populations of the same ethnic relevance settled beyond the Rhine.
According to medicinelearners.com, the first geographical map of Germany, which was printed, is the one built in conical projection by Nicolò Cusano, who had known Ptolemy’s maps in the Reichenbach convent in the Upper Palatinate. It was published in 1491, and derives from it that of Wolgemuth (1493) and that, more exact, of the Roman Ptolemy of 1507. The methodical description of Germany by Francesco Irenico published in 1570 is then he owes a first cartographic sketch of Bavaria (1523), to which the regional maps of the Cosmographia del Münster (1541), a treatise on geography which also includes Germany, are much superior.
Several authors of regional papers has the sec. XVI, among whom especially Filippo Apiano must be named. But only in the following century, with the topographical survey of Württemberg (1624-1635), Schikhart opened a new path in this field. And a century later the Germany and Critical Map will be publishedby Tobia Mayer. Nuremberg will then be the center of cartographic production. As for the regional geography, in the century. XVII travel descriptions and guides almost always take the place of geographical descriptions. In the century XVlII geography is too unilaterally statistical, historical and political with Büsching; but mainly with Kant and also with Gatterer the naturalistic approach is already affirmed. But only in the century. XIX, in Germany itself, modern scientific geography will arise and serious regional studies conducted with rigorous methods will be possible, while German cartographic production will rise to high fame. Germany now boasts a very rich geographical literature, starting with Mendelssohn’s work on Germanic Europe. Daniel’s geographical description (Handbuch der Geographie, III and IV) and that of Kutzen (Das deutsche Land, Breslau 1855) although, especially the first, elegant and lively, they lack a naturalistic basis. The natural part is taken into much greater account by Steinecke. But since the topographical, geological and meteorological state services prepared an enormous harvest of material useful for geography, the development of natural sciences in Germany was able to bear fruit and gradually the German school of geographers oriented itself in this direction, the institutes of geography of German universities were able to profitably study the territory surrounding their headquarters, on the initiative of professors and disciples, publishing a huge number of local monographs: the very precious monographs contained in the Forschungen zur deutschen Landes – und Volkskunde founded by Kirchhoff (from 1885) and, to cite just a few examples, the Geographiche Arbeiten directed by prof. W. Ule of the University of Rostock i Beiträge zur Landeskunde der Rheinlande of the Geographical Seminary of the University of Bonn directed by A. Philippson, the Geographische Zeitschrift directed by A. Hettner of the University of Heidelberg. This enormous work of the German geographers can be fully understood in the Geographisches Jahrbuch, where L. Neumann (Bd. XVII ff.) Reported it and in the reports by Kirchhoff and Hassert, Regel and Ule. The report by F. Hahn in the Geographische Zeitschrift is very useful on the geographical literature of Germany, Bd. III, 1897. All the states of Germany, the less recent topographical surveys have replaced the tablets at 25.000 of new rise; the result was 100,000 paper in 674 sheets. There are also assembly papers at 200,000. Also valuable are those of Liebenow and Ravenstein at 300,000 and that of Vogel at 500,000. The geological offices of the individual states then published the surveys corresponding to the topographic tablets. A general geological map is that of Lepsius (at 500,000).