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Name of racist scientist remains on top


A Swiss mountain named after one of the most influential scientists of the 19th century will keep its name, despite his proven racism.

The three communities bordering the mountain on Thursday rejected a petition signed by people from around the world calling for the name of Louis Agassiz, a key promoter of the Ice Age theory, to be removed from the mountain.

When Agassiz moved to the United States in 1846, he became a leading researcher and one of the world’s best-known scientists.

However, his belief in the separation of the races – while not an unusual position at the time – had a major impact on the debate about racial equality and slavery in the US.

The petition to have his name removed from the Agassizhorn, close to where he did some of his early glacial research, was rejected by the communities of Grindelwald, Guttannen and Fiesch.

The promoters of the petition claim that Agassiz was not only a promoter of racism but a forerunner of the supporters of apartheid in South Africa.

The petition demanded that the mountain be renamed Renty, after a Congolese slave.

The 3,946m Agassizhorn is within the perimeter of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Unesco World Natural Heritage Site.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



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