Christian Freiherr von Steeb

Christian Ritter von Steeb was born on the 11th of April 1848 at Peterwardein. Like his older brother Gustav (1845-1876) he attended the Genie-Akademie (engineer academy) and was commissioned as a Leutnant in the 2. Genie-Regiment in 1866. In the same year he took part in the reconditioning work at the fortress of Komorn. After graduating from the Höheren Geniekurs (like the Kriegsschule for engineers) he was used as a Dynamite expert for blasting operations during the building of the Viennese Hochquellwasserleitung in 1869 and 1870. After his promotion to Oberleutnant in November 1870 he was attached to the technical administrative Militärcomite (military committee) and the general staff, being employed in various posts and especially dealing with military mapping matters. He was promoted to Hauptmann in 1873, to Hauptmann 1.Klasse in Generalstab (captain 1st class in the general staff) in 1876 and to Major on the 1st of May 1882. After a short period of service at troop duty as chief of the general staff of the 35th infantry division in Klausenburg (Kolozsvár) he again returned to the Landesbeschreibungsbureau des Generalstabes (military mapping bureau) and was additionally used as an expert at the military geographical institute. Christian Ritter von Steeb was promoted to Oberstleutnant on the 1st of November 1885 and honoured for his military mapping work with the awarding of the Militärverdienstkreuz (military merit cross) at the end of October 1887.

During his troop duty with infantry regiment 18 between 1887-1889, he received his promotion to Oberst im Generalstab. In 1889 he returned to the general staff as chief of the Landesbeschreibungsbureau and remained there until the Spring of 1894. For his mapping work he received the Orden der Eisernen Krone 3.Klasse (Order of the Iron Crown 3rd class) in December 1893. After his promotion to Generalmajor (May 1894) and a short period of troop duty as commander of the 53rd infantry brigade at Kassa (Kaschau) he became the director of the military geographical institute on the 16th of October 1895 and president of the k.k. geographic society. In this post he received his promotion to Feldmarschall-Leutnant on the1st of May 1898. Under his leadership the 4. Große Landaufnahme Österreichs (drawing of completely new maps of the entire country) was started. He published some studies on geographical and mapping subjects and improved the mapping work in many areas. He was well known as the founder of the "new" Balkan-Geography and for instance under his guidance the first 1:75000 map of Montenegro was completed in 19 sheets. His skills were often recognized by foreign awards - 2nd class of the Prussian Red Eagle Order (April 1892), neck badge with star of the Ottoman Osmanie-Order (October 1897), Grand cross of the Swedish Sword-Order (October 1898), 1st class of the Japanese Order of the Holy Treasure (April 1900), Grand cross of the Order of the Italian Crown (April 1901) and the 1st class of the Prussian Red Eagle Order (April 1902).

On the 10th of August 1901 his efforts were recognized by awarding of the Orden der Eisernen Krone 2.Klasse (neck badge of the Order of the Iron Crown) and additional to this he was appointed to the command of the 16th infantry division at Hermannstadt (Nagyszeben). The photo accompanying this article was taken there. On the 4th of March 1905 he assumed the command of the Krakau fortress . At this post he received the honorary promotion to the rank of Feldzeugmeister mit Titel und Charakter (29th October 1905) and honoured by the title of Geheimer Rat or Privy Councillor (1906). In 1907 he was ennobled with the title "Freiherr von" (19th April 1907) and retired after more than 40 years of duty. He retired to his home in Agram (Zagreb), living at Schloß Golubovec near Stubica in Croatia during the summer months and was elected honorary president of the k.k. geographical society and honorary member of the Hungarian geographical society. He died shortly after the war in 1921.

Back to Miscellaneous Biographies