Royal Geographical Society was founded in 1830 with an objective of promoting geographical sciences. It has a long history having started as Geographical Society of London in 1830. It took over the Raleigh Club, the Palestinian Association as well as the African Association which had been started by Sir Joseph Bank in 1788.
The idea of establishing it was discussed at dinner debates in London, just like many learned societies. The original members were Sir John Franklin, Sir John Barrow and Sir Francis Beaufort.

Royal Geographical Society was founded in 1830 with an objective of promoting geographical sciences.

In 1859, under the support of King William IV, its name became Royal Geographical Society as it was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria. In 1911, Earl Curzon became the society’s president and secured its present premises; Lowther Lodge in Kensington Gore. It was purchased for £100,000. It was opened for use in 1913, the same year women were allowed into the society.

The RGS has a long list of elected president since its establishment. The current president is Nicholas Crane. He chairs the council which is governed by the board of trustees.


The association has worked closely with renowned explorers and expeditions. This includes Darwin, Livingstone, Scotts Stanley, Hillary, Hunt and Shackleton. These explorers collected maps, charts, information and discoveries and handed them to RGS for safe storage.
In 1831; the society published its first journal with other meetings being recorded during proceedings. The Geographical Journal was first published in 1893 to date.

The historical collections were opened to the public in 2004 and a new membership criterion was set up to incorporate more people with interest in geography. The Foyle Reading Room was also opened to improve the society’s knowledge by actual observations and feelings. RGS uses these collections to engage the public and research centers and assists in policy making for the betterment of the general society.