German Contributions to Solving the Longitude Problem in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
The attempts to find a solution to the longitude problem have been in the forefront of the discussion about the history of navigation in recent decades. However, pamphlets or serious works dealing with the problem of longitude in the German language, by German authors and/ or published in the German territories have been previously overlooked. This article examines the numerous German contributions, both serious and cranky, that were produced in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The early works on longitude in the German territories, most of them published by authors far from the sea and in general not connected to shipping, did not have any impact on German navigational literature, even when written by such eminent scientists as Leibniz and Euler. They can be viewed today, though, as another example of how scientific and practical problems were discussed and worked on in wider European scientific circles.