Baltic German historian who specialized in Russian studies. He was the father of geographer Eduard Brückner.
He studied history and economics at the universities of Heidelberg, Jena and Berlin, receiving his doctorate in Heidelberg with a dissertation on the history of the Diet of Worms (1521). As a student, his instructors included Johann Gustav Droysen, Ludwig Häusser, Leopold von Ranke and Friedrich von Raumer. From 1861 to 1867 he served as a professor of history at the Imperial Law School in St. Petersburg, and afterwards was a professor of history at the universities of Odessa (from 1867) and Dorpat (1872–1891).