Born: March 15, 1830
Died: July 4, 1905
- Ishill, Joseph. (1927). Elisée and Elie Reclus: In Memoriam.
- Including: tributes, appreciations and essays by Elie Faure, Prof. Albert Heim, Jean Grave [and others] fragments, letters, and ... woodcuts by Louis Moreau. Compiled, ed. and printed by Joseph Ishill. Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Oriole Press.
- Hidalgo, H. Spanish Biography.
- Biographical entry from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, pages 957-58.
- Obituary from the London Telegraph, reprinted in the New York Times, July 24, 1905.
1830 Reclus is born in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, Gironde, France on March 15th to Jacques Reclus and Zéline Trigant
1831 Father leaves Sainte-Foy and Reclus is left with his grandparents in Laroche
1838 Reunited with his family in Casteetarbes
1842 Travels to Neuwied, Germany for schooling and learns multiple languages at the multinational school of the Moravian Brothers
1844 Rejoins with his older brother Elie at the Protestant College of Sainte-Foy
1848 Moves to Montauban to study theology with Elie. Is advised to leave Mantabaun owning to his defiance of his teachers and travels the Mediterranean after which he leaves for Strasbourg to study theology
1849 Teaches for the Moravian brothers in Neuwied
Jan 1851 Resigns from his teaching post at Neuwied to study at the University of Berlin where he attends many lectures by the noted geographer Carl Ritter
1851 As a 21 year old scholar Reclus publishes the essay "Development of Liberty in the World," which lays the foundation for this mature thinking. In it he argues that "For each particular man liberty is an end, but it is only a means to attain love, to attain universal brotherhood." In this work he also lays the groundwork for his anarchist ideals stating that, "Our destiny is to arrive at that state of ideal perfection where nations no longer have any need to be under the tutelage of a government or any other nation. It is the absence of government; it is anarchy, the highest expression of order."
Dec 1851 Returns to France to oppose Napoleons coup but he and his brother are then forced to leave to England
1852 Reclus works as a tutor in London and then Dublin
Early 1853 Reclus travels to New Orleans. In New Orleans he works as a dockworker and also as a tutor. This trip represents an important stage in the development of his social and political ideas. During his time in Louisiana Reclus became staunchly opposed to slavery and racism and was strengthened in his belief in the inhumanity of capitalism
1855 Reclus leaves the US for Panama, from there he heads to Columbia via smaller ships and spends a year and a half planning a plantation venture
July 1, 1857 Reclus falls ill in South America and returns to Paris
December 14, 1858 Marries Clarisse Brian of Sainte-Foy, daughter of a French sea captain and a "mulatto" Senegalese woman, and moves in with his brother Elie and his wife Noemi in Paris
1860 Reclus' first daughter Magali is born
1860's Reclus spends long amounts of time traveling and conducting research for many travel guides for the publishing firm Hachette. During this time Reclus also completes the first of the three great geographical projects of his life, the two-volume study La Terre: description des phénomènes de la vie du globe. During this time he was involved with the Freemasons, the Freethinkers before, in the mid-60s joining the secret International Alliance of Social Democracy of Michael Bakunin, and the League for Peace and Freedom
1861 Reclus publishes Voyage à la Sierra Nevada
1862 Reclus is invited to join the Société de Géographie de Paris
1863 Reclus' second daughter Jeannie is born
1863 Reclus and his brother Elie found the Banque Coopérative du Crédit au Travail
1864 Reclus publishes Les Volcans et les Tremblements de Terre
1864 Elisée and Elie help to co-found the first Rochdale-type cooperative in Paris: L'Association générale d'approvisionnement et de consommation
1865 Reclus publishes La Sicile et l'éruption de l'Etna
1865 Travels to Florence where he visits Bakunin and is introduced to the local circle of activists
September 24, 1868 Reclus gives an address, while participating in the Berne Congress, that promoted wide-ranging decentralization
1869 Reclus publishes La Terre et Histoire d'un ruisseau
1869 Reclus' wife Clarisse dies
1870 Reclus informally marries Fanny Lherminez
1870 During the siege of Paris Reclus shared in aerostatic operations conducted by Félix Nadar and served in the National Guard
1871 As a member of the Association Nationale des Travailleurs, Reclus publishes a hostile manifesto against the government of Versailles in support of the Paris Commune in the Cri du Peuple
March 18-May 28 1871 Paris Commune
April 5, 1871 Continuing to serve in the National Guard, now in open revolt, Reclus is taken prisoner
November 1871 Reclus is tried and sentenced to prison in New Caledonia his sentence is mitigated by an international petition signed by many scientists including Charles Darwin
January 1872 Reclus is sentenced to perpetual banishment from France
1871 Moves to Clarens in Switzerland until 1892
1874 Fanny Lherminez dies
1875 Reclus moves in with his third spouse Ermance Gonini
1876 Reclus is one of the first to adopt the theory of anarchism communism propagated by the Italian section of the International, though he advocated from distribution regulated by solidarity rather than the "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" slogan stressed by Italian anarcho-communists
1876 Reclus delivers a eulogy at the funeral of his good friend, the great revolutionary Michael Bakunin in Berne
1880 Reclus publishes the anarchist pamphlet Evolution et revolution
1882 Reclus' Father dies
1882 Reclus is purported to have initiated the "Anti-marriage movement" from his residence in Geneva
1882 Reclus declares that there were only two principles at work in society: "on the one side, that of government, on the other, that of anarchy, authority and liberty... All revolutionary acts are, by their very nature, essentially anarchical, whatever the power which seeks to profit from them." Reclus believed that every revolt against oppression is therefore good to a degree and was not opposed to the rational use of force when necessary. To make use of force can be an expression of love when it is used to fight oppression and injustice.
1883-1884 Reclus travels to Asia Minor, Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria
1894 Completes and publishes his geographical volume titled Nouvelle Géographie Universelle. His work is awarded the gold medal of the Paris Geographical Society afterward he moves to Brussels, Belgium where he becomes a professor of comparative geography at the New University of Brussels
1893 Reclus publishes the anarchist pamphlet A mon frère, le paysan
1893 and 1895 Reclus attends the Edinburgh Summer Meetings and engaged in lecture tours
1884 Reclus is appointed chair of comparative geography at the University of Brussels
1895 Reclus proposes the construction of a huge relief globe on the scale of 1:100,000 but this project did not ever come to fruition.
Early 1900s After the failure of the anarchist reign of terror in the early 1890s Reclus began to stress the gradual and evolutionary side of social change. He argued that "evolution and revolution are two successive acts of the same phenomenon, evolution preceding revolution, and the latter preceding a new evolution, mother of future revolutions"
July 4, 1905 Reclus dies from heart disease in Torhout, Belgium at the age of 75