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Ignacy Domeyko (July 31, 1802 - January 23, 1889, Santiago de Chile, lith: Ignas Domeika) was a famous 19th century geologist and mineralogist from the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Domeyko was born in Niedzwiadka (now Miadzviedka, Belarus).
During his life his homeland was a part of the Russian Empire. However, Domeyko was brought up in the culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a multicultural entity that was destroyed shortly before his birth, in the third partition of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. For these reasons and since he spent most of his life in Chile, he is considered a person of national merit in Chile, Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

Domeyko studied at The University of Vilnius, Lithuania under Andrej Sniadecki, and at the École des Mines in Paris. He was a close friend of the Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz.
After participating in the November Uprising, an insurrection attempting to revive the Poland-Lithuania commonwealth in 1831 Domeyko chose to emigrate to France rather than face Russian reprisals.

In 1838 he left for Chile and lived there until May 22, 1884, when he returned for an extended visit to Europe. He stayed four years in Poland, receiving an honorary doctorate at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and touring Europe, then returned to Chile. He was a professor at a mining college in Coquimbo (La Serena), and later at the University of Santiago de Chile (Universidad de Chile), where he has been elected to the position of the rector for 16 years (1867-1883).

He greatly advanced studies in mineralogy and mining techniques, researched several new minerals, advocated civil rights of the native tribal people and was also a meteorologist and ethnographer. Several entities have been named in his honor, including the mineral Domeykit, the shellfish Nautilus domeykus, the ammonite Amonites domeykanus, the asteroid 2784 Domeyko, the Andean mountain range Cordillera Domeyko, and the Chilean town of Domeyko.

On the 200th Anniversary of Domeyko’s birth, UNESCO declared the year 2002 "Ignacy Domeyko Year." The descendants of Domeyko form today a very respectable family which can be found in different areas of Chilean culture.



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