Milton Santos

Milton Santos
Born (1926-05-03)3 May 1926
Brotas de Macaúbas, Bahia, Brazil
Died 24 June 2001(2001-06-24) (aged 75)
Alma mater Universidade Federal da Bahia, University of Strasbourg
Scientific career
Fields Human geography

Milton Almeida dos Santos (born May 3, 1926 – June 24, 2001) was a Brazilian geographer who had a degree in law. He became known for pioneer works in various fields in geography, notably urban development in developing countries. He is considered the father of Critical Geography in Brazil.


Santos was born in Brotas de Macaúbas, Bahia, Brazil on May 3, 1926.[1] Santos' parents were elementary school teachers and taught him at home how to read and write. By the time he was eight, he had already completed the equivalent of an elementary school education. Milton's father was a descendant from slaves, which gave Santos motivation to study. From 1934 to 1936, he lived in Alcobaça, learning French and good manners.

Santos taught geography to high school students to finance university classes in Salvador.[2] He graduated majoring in law yet he did not practice it. He instead took and passed a public examination for secondary teacher and went to teach geography in Ilhéus.[3]

Santos went on to study and teach in Europe, America, and Africa.[4] Although he is considered exiled by the military government, he was actually forbidden to leave the country and could only do so after a negotiation between the French ambassador and the government. He turned the painful exile that the military dictatorship had imposed on him for thirteen years into benefits. Milton Santos wrote more than forty books in several languages. His works became a reference for all those who intended to understand the world in a critical way, that is to say, not in a negative way necessarily, but applying concepts of Critical Geography and the Frankfurt School.[5]

Some of his works include "Por Uma Geografia Nova" (1978) and "A Natureza do Espaço" (1996). His work "O Espaço Dividido", in which Santos develops a theory on urban development in underdeveloped countries, is considered a geography classic.[6][7][8]

Milton Santos went on to win the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize - the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography. The award is modeled after the Nobel Prize and is considered and colloquially called the Nobel Prize for geography.[9][10][11]

See also


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