Carl Ritter (August 7, 1779 – September 28, 1859) was a German geographer. Along with Alexander von Humboldt, he is considered one of the founders of modern geography. From 1825 until his death, he occupied the first chair in geography at the University of Berlin.
Ritter was born in Quedlinburg, one of the six children of a well-respected doctor, F. W. Ritter.
Ritter's father died when he was two. At the age of five, he was enrolled in the Schnepfenthal Salzmann School, a school focused on the study of nature (apparently influenced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's writings on children's education). This experience would influence Ritter throughout his life, as he retained an interest in new educational modes, including those of. Indeed, much of Ritter's writing was based on Pestalozzi's three stages in teaching: the acquisition of the material, the general comparison of material, and the establishment of a general system.