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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

2. European Travelers and the Early Dutch Naturalists

5. European Travelers in the East and West

Texte intégral

Ô caput elleboro dignum
Fool’s Cap Map of the World believed to be by Oronce Fine (c. 1580-1590). Bibliothèque nationale de France.

1Messieurs,

2During our last session we started talking about travels that were undertaken to faraway lands for the progress of the natural sciences; we talked in particular about the travelers who went to northern regions or who described them.

  • 1 [Bernhard von Breydenbach (born c. 1440; died 1497, Mainz), a nobleman and wealthy canon of the ca (...)
  • 2 We can see a giraffe, which is easily recognizable, a unicorn, a salamander, etc. [M. de St.-Agy].
  • 3 [Hoppius (Christianus Emmanuel), “Anthropomorpha” in Linnaeus (Carolus) (ed.), Amoenitates academi (...)

3A few trips, with the same goal, to countries that border the Mediterranean also occurred at that time. The Holy Land and Egypt, which were then the trade centers for Venice, were mostly destinations for commerce. Among the people or the authors who gathered useful information was a fifteenth century canon from Mainz; he was the first traveler to have a book printed with information on natural history. This canon is Bernhard von Breydenbach;1 his book is called Opusculum sanctarum peregrinationum; it was printed for the first time in Mainz in 1486 and reprinted several times after. I mention it only because it includes a few woodcut illustrations, yet quite rough, of foreign animals,2 in particular an illustration of a monkey that would be of no significance if it had not been reproduced in Linnaeus’s dissertation on anthropomorphic animals, or animals that have similarities with humans.3 Linnaeus thinks that this old figure is the representation of an orangutan, or of a wild woman. It is nothing more than a copy of a female monkey; furthermore, this author is not very important.

  • 4 [Leonhard Rauwolf or Leonhart Rauwolff (born 21 June 1535, Augsburg; died 15 September 1596, Waitz (...)
  • 5 Brucker, Koestner, etc., date his death to 1606, but Tob[ias] Cober[us] [author of Observationum c (...)
  • 6 [Rauwolf’s observations and impressions of the people, customs, and sights of the Levantine region (...)
  • 7 This very valuable herbarium [plant collection] went through many tribulations. After the death of (...)

4An author who is more valuable and whose works still remain is Leonhard Rauwolf, a physician from Augsburg.4 He received his doctorate in medicine in Valence in the Dauphine province of France. He left for the Levant in 1573 and visited Syria, Kurdistan, the Holy Land, and various areas of Egypt. He came back in 1576 but since he did not want to abjure Catholicism for the reformed church, he had to leave Augsburg. He joined the troops of Hungary as a physician where he died in 1587.5 His book is called: Travels into the Eastern Countries, in particular Syria, Judea, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and Assyria. This book is written in German and was published in Augsburg in 1581, five years after his return.6 It includes forty-two figures of curious plants, which makes Rauwolf a rather skilled botanist from the past. His woodcut figures are for the most part as recognizable as the originals that were used as model, but the most curious part of his book is the first description ever of how coffee is prepared. The coffee bean was totally unknown at that time in Western countries but had been used for a long time in Arabia and neighboring countries. Rauwolf created a herbarium that traveled through various countries and is now kept at the Leiden’s library.7

  • 8 [For Alpinus, see Lesson 4, note 55.]
  • 9 [George Emo (or Hemi), consul for the Republic of Venice in Egypt.]
  • 10 [The sultans of Egypt at the time where Massih Pasha, governed from 1575 to 1580, and Hassan Pasha (...)
  • 11 [Balsam of Mecca (also called the balsam of Gilead or balm of Gilead) is a resinous gum of the tre (...)
  • 12 [Andrea Doria or D’Oria (born 30 November 1466, Oneglia, northern Italy; died 25 November 1560, Ge (...)
  • 13 [De medicina Aegyptiorum libri quatuor: in quibus multa cum de vario mittendi sanguinis usu per ve (...)
  • 14 [For the balsam of Mecca, see note 11, above.]
  • 15 [De balsamo dialogus, in quo verissima balsami plante, opobalsami, carpobalsami, & xilobalsami cog (...)
  • 16 [De Plantis Aegypti liber. In quo non pauci, qui circa herbarum materiam irrepserunt, errores, dep (...)
  • 17 [De Plantis Exoticis libri duo, Venice: Joannem Guerilium, 1627, 360 p., illus.; published posthum (...)
  • 18 [Historiae Aegypti naturalis pars prima: qua continentur rerum Aegyptiarum libri quatuor. Opus pos (...)

5A third traveler who was more learned than Rauwolf was Prosper Alpinus,8 a physician born in 1553 in Marostica, a small town in the state of Venice. He had studied in Padua and became a doctor in 1578. Two years later he left for Egypt with Consul George Emo.9 At that time, the Republic of Venice had a special status in Alexandria, protected by the Sultan of Egypt, chief of the Mamluks.10 Many Venetians lived in Egypt at that time and the Republic had a physician posted there; Alpinus held this position for three years. It was during his stay in Cairo that he saw a coffee tree in the garden of a lord. While Rauwolf was the first one to describe the preparation of the coffee bean, Alpinus was the very first one to describe all the details of the fructification of this plant, of its nature and its culture. He was also the first one to introduce the small tree that produces the famous balsamum as mentioned by the Ancients, actually called balsam of Mecca.11 We also owe him several other details on various branches of natural history. In 1584, he was called back to Italy to be physician to the Spanish Armada, led by Andrea Doria, prince of Amalfi.12 Then he was appointed professor of botany in Padua where he died in 1617 at the age of sixty-three. His books are all written in Latin. The first one is called De medicina Aegyptiorum libri IV, Venice, 1591 (Medicine of the Egyptians).13 The second is about the balsam of Mecca and the plant that produces it;14 it is called De balsamo dialogus, Venice, 1591.15 The third is about plants from Egypt and was published a year later.16 The fourth one, about exotic plants, was published only after his death thanks to his son.17 Finally, the fifth book was published in Leiden in 1735, more than a century after Alpinus’s death. It consists of two volumes in quarto and his title is Historia Aegypti naturalis libri IV (a fifth part remained in manuscript).18 This work also included several writings that treat of animals from Egypt, such as the crocodile, the chameleon, several kinds of monkeys, and the hippopotamus. If it had been published during Alpinus’s lifetime, it would have contributed to the progress of science much faster since the information it contained could have been used earlier.

  • 19 [Selim II (born 28 May 1524, Constantinople; died 12/15 December 1574, Topkapi Palace, Constantino (...)

6The authors I just mentioned are the only ones who brought new knowledge in natural history about productions from the Levant. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, not many books were published on that subject due to the conquest of Egypt by Selim II,19 which broke the relationship with Alexandria. Trade then took the route to America or around the Cape of Good Hope; trade with Alexandria decreased and Venice lost a lot as well in this new turn of events, of which I will discuss later when I am done with the history of explorers of Africa and of the coasts of the Mediterranean.

  • 20 [Joannes Leo Africanus (born c. 1494, Granada; died c. 1554), Moorish diplomat and author, best kn (...)
  • 21 [Pope Leon X, Giovanni di Lorenzo de’Medici (born 11 December 1475, Florence; died 1 December 1521 (...)
  • 22 [For Ramusio, see note 20, above.]
  • 23 [Bornu, the Bornu Empire, an African state of Nigeria from 1380 to 1893.]

7Joannes Leo, nicknamed the African,20 is one of these explorers. He was born in Granada and belonged to one of the Moorish families that occupied the Moorish kingdom at that time. In 1491, when he was still a child —during the battle and surrender of Granada as the Moorish domination was destroyed— he had to leave Granada and was taken to Africa. There he studied in Fes in Arabian schools. After his studies he traveled to several places in Africa, Egypt, Arabia, Armenia, and Persia. While onboard an Arab vessel, he was taken prisoner by Christians along the coast of Tripoli, and brought to Rome in 1517. Because he was very well versed in Arabian matters, he was welcomed by Pope Leon X.21 He converted and taught Arabic in Rome for quite a long time but, after a while, he was filled with regret and left for Africa where he died. He wrote a description of this country that he had written in Arabic and that he translated into bad Italian. It was not printed until 1550, in the collection of Ramusio’s travels.22 His description was later translated into Latin and then into French. It is still to this day one of the most valuable books on inland Africa; as you know this part of the globe is seldom known to us. For a long time, we did not have the means to go there and it has only been two or three years since we have finally been able to get into Bornu,23 Timbuktu, and several other towns, and to recognize the rivers and lakes that are described in Leo’s book, either because he had seen them, or because he had heard about these places in many details by the numerous caravans that traveled these countries and made access to these places dangerous to Europeans. The hate Moorish caravans felt for Europeans was caused by their fear of losing their business in inland Africa to Europeans; thus, almost all those who tried to penetrate inland Africa fell victim to their zeal.

  • 24 [Luis del Marmol Carvajal (born 1520, Granada; died 1600, Velez Malaga, Spain), Spanish chronicler (...)
  • 25 [Descripción general de África y origen del nombre del continente según León el Africano y Luis de (...)
  • 26 [Joannes Leo Africanus, see notes 20 and 25, above.]

8Luis del Marmol Carvajal,24 born in Granada in 1520, traveled as well to Africa. He went to Tunis in 1536 during Charles V’s expedition to Algiers. He spent twenty years in the Spanish garrisons on the African coast and he died about 1600. He was held prisoner for seven years in the kingdom of Morocco, in Turudan, Tremessen, Fes, and Tunis. He crossed the deserts of Libya all the way to Guinea. He wrote Descripción general de África (General description of Africa), one volume in-folio;25 it was printed in Granada in 1573 and later reprinted and translated. Marmol Carvajal borrowed a lot from Leo the African.26

  • 27 [See Volume 1, Part 7.]
  • 28 [Eduardo Lopez, Portuguese trader to Congo and Angola who wrote one of the earliest descriptions o (...)
  • 29 This king [Philip II of Spain (born 21 May 1527, Valladolid, Spain; died 13 September 1598, El Esc (...)
  • 30 [Pope Sixtus V or Xystus V, Felice Peretti di Montalto (born 13 December 1521, Grottammare, Papal (...)
  • 31 [See note 31, above.]
  • 32 [For Pigafetta, see note 28, above.]
  • 33 [Relatione del Reame di Congo e della circonvicine contrade. Tratta dalli Scritti & ragionamente d (...)

9But the Portuguese, as I already mentioned at the end of my lessons on the progress of science during the Middle Ages,27 had started to follow the African coasts since the fourteenth century. They even had settled in Congo or Lower Guinea where they had converted their leaders. They had created religious establishments; several missionaries had settled there. There were also some archbishops; basically a complete religious settlement was created there and remained for a very long time. We can even say that it is repealed today more because of the ignorance and rudeness of the country’s customs than by a formal opposition. Thus, Portugal was able to have important relationships with the coast of Guinea and one of the travelers of that time wrote a book on it. His name was Eduardo Lopez28 and he left for Congo in 1578. In 1587, he came back as ambassador to the king of this country to inform Philip II29 and the Pope30 of the sad situation of the Christian religion in the Congo. Barely acknowledged by Philip II, he decided to leave the secular world, joined a religious order and hurried to go and see the Pope to answer the devout intentions of the king of Congo who had died since he had left. But he was no happier in Rome than he was in Madrid; Sixtus V,31 who did not want to upset Philip II and who supported the Congo, did not get involved. However, Lopez managed to get Antonio Migliore, the Bishop of San Marco, interested in his favor. Migliore requested Philip Pigafetta32 to record everything that Lopez would give him in writing or would tell him about Congo. Pigafetta translated all the material he received from Lopez into Italian and had it published in 1591.33 This book was reprinted several times and translated into different languages. At that time, when not much information on natural history was available, great voyages were rare and people were eager to learn about the countries recently discovered; as soon as a book was published on these topics, it was reprinted and translated into the various languages of Europe. This curiosity for foreign countries became stronger as people started to go to America and the East Indies. Then, a completely new stage became available to naturalists for their research. So that we understand well their position, the means they used for their research, and to grant them the trust they deserve, I have to remind you briefly of the era of discoveries and how they unfolded.

  • 34 [See Volume 1, Part 7.]
  • 35 [Christopher Columbus, see Volume 1, Lesson 23, note 29.]
  • 36 [Bartholomew Diaz (born c. 1451, Algarve, Kingdom of Portugal; died 29 May 1500, Cape of Good Hope (...)
  • 37 [John II of Portugal (born 3 March 1455, Lisbon; died 25 October 1495, Alvor, Portimão, Kingdom of (...)

10You remember that I told you when I finished the history of the progress in sciences during the Middle Ages34 that Christopher Columbus35 discovered America in 1492 and that a year later, in 1493, the Portuguese, who had traveled along the west coast of Africa, reached the Cape of Good Hope —initially named the Cape of Tempests by Bartholomew Diaz36 and then the Cape of Good Hope by John II, king of Portugal,37 because he saw in this discovery the hope for a new route to India. Columbus, as you know, made several trips to America; he successively discovered several small islands, then Cuba and then Santo Domingo. He saw the coast of Honduras, of Portobello, and Veragua, and all of the southern part of Mexico.

  • 38 Cuvier knows better than I that [Juan de] Grijalva [Spanish conquistador, born c. 1489, Cuéllar, S (...)
  • 39 [Fernando Cortez, Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, first Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (born 1 (...)
  • 40 [Francisco Pizarro González (born c. 1471 or 1476, Trujillo, Castile; died 26 June 1541, Lima), Sp (...)
  • 41 [Diego de Almagro (born c. 1475, Almagro, Castile; died 8 July 1538, Cuzco, New Castile, Spanish E (...)
  • 42 [Potosi, city and capital of the department of Potosi in Bolivia, that served as the major supply (...)

11In 1517, a Spaniard named Juan de Grijalva discovered Yucatan.38 Over the years, the Spanish managed to establish themselves in the Atlantic; they had conquered the Island of Santo Domingo, which was their main base at that time. In 1518, Fernando Cortez39 learned about the existence of Mexico; he invaded and was so successful that by 1521 Mexico was under Spanish rule. Three years later, in 1524, two other Spaniards, Pizarro40 and Diego de Almagro,41 undertook the conquest of Peru. Though they were not very well supported by the government of Spain, they went back to Peru in 1528 and conquered it almost in its entirety. In 1531, they discovered the mines of Potosi42 and in 1535 those of Chile. When Pizarro was assassinated in Lima by its oppressed and persecuted people, almost all of present-day Spanish America was under Spanish rule. It probably did not cover all areas; the Spanish only occupied some places, and except for half-civilized empires such as Mexico and Peru, all the other areas were still in the hands of savages; but at least it was possible, with the help of escorts or similar protection, to travel in these countries and make all the observations one could wish. We will see that soon afterward, some details of natural history were put together in a compendium on the objects of this country and sent to Europe where they were made available to those who studied nature in general.

  • 43 It was named Florida because it was discovered on Palm Sunday [Pascua florida means flowery festiv (...)
  • 44 [Vasco de Gama, first Count of Vidigueira (born c. 1460 or 1469, Alentejo, Portugal; died 23 Decem (...)

12In 1534, the Spanish discovered Florida43 and by 1539 they were already settled there. Since then, the Spanish occupation had suffered a few light attacks, but they were never seriously challenged; as a result, their possession remained intact until the French Revolution, when colonies rebelled against their conquerors. We will talk later about the efforts of the Spanish naturalists, which were not very significant; for now let us follow the Portuguese in their conquests. These people went eastward as the Spanish went westward; they ended up circumnavigating the globe and met in the Philippines, in the archipelago of India. Vasco de Gama44 had passed the Cape of Good Hope in 1497. A year later, in 1498, he went to Mozambique, Melinda, and Calicut. Once there, the Portuguese were able to take hold of the trade with the East Indies. However, to succeed in this endeavor, they had to wage many wars; they had to fight many battles against the Arabs who were trading in these lands, while passing to Egypt through the Red Sea. They had the Emperor of Abyssinia as their ally, but their adventures related to their settlements in these areas are irrelevant to our studies.

  • 45 [Alfonso de Albuquerque (born c. 1453, Alhandra, Portugal; died 16 December 1515, at sea), known a (...)

13In 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque45 settled in Goa, which became the main fortress, the capital of all Portuguese establishments in India. But as early as 1506 he had seen the island of Ceylon; in 1511 he discovered the peninsula of Malacca; he was already established in the Maluku Islands. The coast of Coromandel was discovered in 1512; in 1518 they reached Bengal and, in 1525, the island of Celebes; finally the Portuguese discovered the route to China in 1526. Japan was open to them in 1532; thus, all around the continent of China, India, and of Africa all the way to Congo was known to Europeans by the middle of the sixteenth century. A large part of the Indian Archipelago was also known by then; trading posts and small fortresses had been set up in the main locations of the different islands and the spice trade, as well as the trade for a wide range of other commodities, was at that time in the hands of the Portuguese.

  • 46 [Ferdinand Magellan (born c. 1480, Sabrosa, Portugal; died 27 April 1521, Mactan, Philippines), Po (...)

14While the Portuguese explored the sea toward the Orient, the Spanish tried to pursue their discoveries on the other side of the globe. It was a Portuguese man in the service of Spain who had the bold idea of circumnavigating the world; his name was Magellan.46 By then the globe had been traveled in all areas and we could almost draw a map of it, but no vessel had departed from one point in the West and returned to the same point through the route of the Orient. Magellan was the first one to try this voyage in 1519; in 1520, he discovered the land of the Patagonians and the strait that still bears his name. In 1521, he arrived at Larron Island in the Philippines, at the Maluku Islands, and at Borneo —in the same archipelagos that the Portuguese had already been before, but by a route directly opposite to the one that the Portuguese had traveled.

  • 47 [Pedro Álvares Cabral (born 1467 or 1468, Belmonte, Portugal; died c. 1520, Santarém, Portugal), P (...)
  • 48 [Vincente Yanez Pinzón (born c. 1462, Palos de la Frontera, Spain; died after 1514, Triana, Sevill (...)
  • 49 [Amerigo Vespucci (born 9 March 1454, Florence; died 22 February 1512, Seville), Italian explorer, (...)
  • 50 [Pope Alexander VI, Roderic Llançol i de Borja (born 1 January 1431, Xàtiva, Spain; died 18 August (...)

15As early as 1500, a Portuguese named Cabral47 had discovered Brazil while on a journey to India; the eastern wind pushed him considerably toward the right of his original route. That same coast had been noticed several months before by a fellow mate of Columbus, Vincente Yanez Pinzón48 and by Amerigo Vespucci;49 however, the Portuguese pretended that the discovery was theirs and they fought harshly about this claim with the Spanish. Pope Alexander VI50 put an end to it with a demarcation line. This split has not been observed since then, but it created two European nations in South America, the Portuguese on one end and the Spanish on the other. As far as India is concerned, the Portuguese reached it first and had established themselves there; but the Spanish who arrived there by the west, established themselves there as well. The Philippines became the place of their main settlement, as Maluku was for the Portuguese.

16In 1535, the Jesuits were established in the hope of stopping the expansion of the Reformation. Among the various objectives of their organization, one of them proved to be of great benefit to scientific discoveries —it was their obligation to obey the Pope, as per their fourth vow, in the trust he placed in them to convert non-Christian people. They were sent to India, and part of the Order was thus destined, since its origin, to what has been called since then foreign missions.

  • 51 [St. Ignatius of Loyola (born c. 27 October 1491, Loyola; died 31 July 1556, Rome), a Spanish knig (...)
  • 52 [St. Francis Xavier (born 7 April 1506, Xavier, Spain; died 3 December 1552, São João Island, now (...)

17The first companions of St. Ignatius,51 who included Francis Xavier,52 put such effort in carrying out their mission that in 1537 they had reached Japan. There, they created large communities of Christians, which triggered civil wars and led, in part, to the banishment of the Jesuits and all Christians in 1640. But between the time they arrived there and left, they had made a large number of observations and gathered many samples of local productions that were completely different from ours.

  • 53 [Mathieu or Matteo Ricci (born 6 October 1552, Macerata, Papal States; died 11 May 1610, Bejing, M (...)
  • 54 [Wanli Emperor, Zhu Yijun (born 4 September 1563; died 18 August 1620, Bejing), thirteenth emperor (...)
  • 55 He [Mathieu Ricci] brought him [Wanli Emperor] several presents that he observed with great curios (...)
  • 56 [Khang-Hi, Kang-hsi, or Kangxi (born 4 May 1654, Bejing; died 20 December 1722, Bejing), the fourt (...)

18They did not manage to establish themselves in China as easily as they did in Japan. It was only in 1583, forty years after their expulsion from Japan, that they managed to enter it. Francisco Xavier had entered Japan as a missionary. In China, they had to employ a completely different strategy and keep their mission secret. Thus, Mathieu Ricci53 was introduced to the emperor of China54 as an astronomer; he brought with him his instruments of astronomy and showed them to him.55 Since the Chinese astronomers were very ignorant —they only had rulers designed by Muslims and many times they had to call Muslims from Smyrna, Bagdad, or Samarkand to fix the calendar— Ricci was much welcome. Eventually the Jesuits converted many people in China; they were granted an edict from Emperor Khang-Hi56 in 1692 that allowed Christendom in the Empire of China. But Khang-Hi’s successors took opposite measures and the Jesuits experienced the same persecutions they had suffered in Japan. In 1722, Christendom was forbidden in the Empire of China; a large number of Jesuits were expelled; only a few were kept in Peking as astronomers to the service of the Tribunal of Mathematics. This small number of Jesuits was not renewed until the French Revolution. The Jesuits provided us with many details on the natural history of China that would have been impossible to obtain otherwise, since no foreigner was allowed in this empire, and even ambassadors were escorted in such a way that they could not go away from the route they were supposed to follow. Jesuit missionaries were as useful in Japan as in China, but these different countries soon became the stage of quite large revolutions that followed the conquest of Portugal by the Spanish.

  • 57 [For cochineal, see Lesson 4, note 63, above.]

19Trade with India was centralized in Lisbon and all spices, textiles, and precious items that Europe obtained from India (in a very large quantity since their manufacturers were more sophisticated than ours) arrived in Lisbon on Portuguese vessels. Trade with America was not as beneficial yet because the people who lived there were still savages and were not able to produce anything, neither in agriculture nor in industry. Cocoa and cochineal57 became plentiful only when the Europeans settled there in large numbers and brought slaves to grow these plants on a large scale. India, on the contrary, boasted a large population skilled in industry and agriculture that owned nice manufacturers. Trade formerly done by the Arabs through Alexandria and Venice was done during almost all of the sixteenth century by the Portuguese on their route back from Maluku to Lisbon by way of the Cape of Good Hope. The revolt of the Dutch against the Spanish and the conquest of Portugal by the Spanish changed that situation.

  • 58 [The Duke of Alba, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, also known as Ferdinandus Toletanus Dux (...)
  • 59 [Philip II, see Lesson 2, note 1.]
  • 60 [William I, Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent (born 24 April 1533, Dillenburg, Ho (...)
  • 61 Other historians say that it took him three weeks. The army was under the command of this violent (...)
  • 62 [House of Braganza, officially the Most Serene House of Braganza, an important imperial, royal, an (...)

20Reformation had reached the Netherlands. The Duke of Alba,58 sent as governor by Philip II,59 persecuted violently all those who claimed to be Protestant. Two powerful men had been put to death in a terrible way; insurrection was organized and launched in 1572 when William of Nassau, or William I, also known as William the Silent,60 was declared leader of this country and appointed Stadtholder, with the same powers as the governors appointed by the king of Spain. In 1576, the provinces of Holland and Zeland joined in a confederation to fight against Spain. In 1579, the seven United Provinces, formed by Guelders, Holland, Zeeland, Zutphen, Friesland, Overijseel, and Utrecht, adopted the treaty known as the Union of Utrecht; this treaty is the foundation of the United Provinces. Finally, on 26 July 1581, they abjured sovereignty of the king of Spain in their country. That same year, after the death of the last king of Portugal, the king of Spain seized Portugal in fifty-eight days,61 to the prejudice of the House of Braganza,62 which was its legitimate heir or at least seems to have been since then based on events. Master of Lisbon and dispossessed from sovereignty in Holland, the king of Spain forbade Dutch access to his ports. This measure was very harmful to their interests. Their first source of wealth, since the thirteenth century, came from whaling and salt herring; the revenues they had gained from it had enabled them to expand their trade considerably. They were mostly the ones who went to Lisbon to get the merchandise from India and deliver it to the other countries of Europe. Since they could no longer get this merchandise from the Portuguese, they decided to go directly to India to get it. First they thought they could circumnavigate the continent by the north; in principle, one can indeed conceive the possibility of following the coasts of Siberia, then go through the Bering Strait to the Sea of China, and reach the same destination as the Portuguese, but with a completely opposite route to the one of the Cape of Good Hope; but the continent up north comes much closer to the pole than it does in the south. Thus, it requires the crossing of a frozen sea. The Dutch tried two or three times to cross it without success; but these efforts by a people made bolder from misfortune led them to discover Nova Zembla and Spitsbergen. While they had to spend a whole winter in the snow in these terrible climates, they were able to make some observations on the animals that live there. One of their narratives features the story of a white bear that tried to get in their cabin through the chimney. These voyages are so extraordinary that they almost seem fictional, although they are very real. These expeditions were undertaken by private Dutch parties since governments only get involved after individual endeavors. Their discoveries were almost only geographic and barely contributed to natural history, but they provided useful landmarks that helped whaling.

21It was believed for a long time, in spite of the failure of the Dutch mariners, that there was a northern sea route to the Pacific Ocean and that the Russians were hiding this route from the Europeans, but the English voyages removed any doubt about it.

22Stopped in the north, the Dutch came back via the south and succeeded in their projects. In 1595, 1596, 1598, 1599, 1600, 1603, 1605, and 1608, they led expeditions to the Orient. At first these expeditions, such as those in the north, were organized by private trading companies that sent a certain number of vessels on trading voyages. Their trade prospered; they felt the need to establish some settlements in the country; it became actually a necessity when the Portuguese and the Spanish who were allied at that time declared war to them. Almost everywhere they would go, they would meet Portuguese who attacked them and they had to fight back. They were very often fortunate, and successively managed to oust the Portuguese out of almost all of their establishments, except for Goa and a few other locations that were not very important. They sent observers to gather intelligence on the Portuguese and this is how most of the discoveries made by the Portuguese were related by the Dutch.

23In 1605, they founded the town of Batavia, which has since then been the capital of all their establishments in India; as early as 1609 they managed to enter Japan. It is said that their conflicts with the Portuguese about their respective business interests were not completely foreign to the expulsion of the missionaries out of this island. In any case, since the expulsion of the Jesuits from Japan in 1640, the Dutch were the trading power of this country; they were the only ones allowed to send every three years a fleet of ships loaded with European merchandise, which in return would bring back merchandise from Japan. No other foreign nation was allowed in Japan; thus, it is through Holland or from foreigners who were on board these vessels that we gained all the knowledge we have now of this country. However, since 1609, the Portuguese Jesuits had taught us a lot about this place.

  • 63 [Jacob Le Maire (born c. 1585, Antwerp or Amsterdam; died 22 December 1616, at sea), a Dutch marin (...)

24Finally, the Dutch reached the Maluku Islands via the Strait of Magellan, and one of their mariners, Jacob Le Maire,63 discovered in 1617 the strait that is named after him. In 1616, they had started their discovery of New Holland, this huge continent that we later learned about in detail by English travelers. The Dutch conducted several other expeditions until 1658, which is the time when we are stopping our study.

25You see, messieurs, that since the end of the fifteenth century —since 1492, the primary year of this century because of the discovery of America— until 1650, the most important places of America and India were known since we have to add to all these discoveries the ones made by the English; while their discoveries were not as significant as the others we described, the English made up for it later.

  • 64 [Sir Francis Drake, vice admiral (born c. 1540, Tavistock, Devon, England; died 27 January 1596, P (...)
  • 65 [New Albion, also known as Nova Albion, the name of all North America north of New Spain, from “se (...)

26In 1578, Francis Drake,64 during a remarkable voyage, visited the west coast of America all the way to California, the northern part of which received the name of New Albion.65

  • 66 [Sir Walter] Raleigh [(born c. 1554, Hayes Barton, Devonshire, England; died 29 October 1618, Lond (...)
  • 67 [James I, see Lesson 4, note 73.]
  • 68 [Baron Charles Athanase] Walckenaer [French civil servant and scientist; born 1771, Paris; died 18 (...)
  • 69 A few historians relate that a vicious conformation made celibacy an imperial law that she could n (...)

27In 1584, Walter Raleigh,66 admiral to Elizabeth and James I,67 who had his head cut off under the ax of the executioner because of the abuse he had committed toward the Spanish, discovered the northeast coast of America, which he named Virginia,68 after the pretention that Queen Elizabeth was still a virgin.69 This area was the main location of the settlements that led to the creation of the United States. At that time, we had a general knowledge of all the parts of the globe and while there remained a lot to do yet before we could draw a complete geography of it, and the chorographic part was still was almost non-existent, the geographers already had the outline and the main structure of their work. Productions of these countries were also available, to some extent, to naturalists.

28Now we are going to look at the travelers who described these natural productions and who, as a result, contributed to the sciences we are studying. The number of these travelers is so large that I would need several hours to tell you about all of them. Thus, I will only talk about those whose contribution led to significant progress in natural history.

29Today I will talk about the Spanish travelers and in our next sessions, I will talk about the travelers from other countries. There are three of them since usually they remained more secretive about their foreign settlements than they should have.

  • 70 [Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (born August 1478, Madrid; died 1557, Valladolid), a Spanish (...)
  • 71 [King Ferdinand II of Aragon (born 10 March 1452, Sos del Rey Católico; died 23 January 1516, Madr (...)
  • 72 This reason is indeed not very exciting to know; it was due to the illness that is known today as (...)
  • 73 [Cuvier says 1525, but Oviedo’s Sumario de la Natural Historia de las Indias was published in 1526 (...)
  • 74 [Guaiacum officinale, commonly known as Roughbark Lignum-vitae, Guaiacwood or Gaïacwood; a species (...)
  • 75 [We have not been able to identify the Marquis de Trujillo (Truxillo?) nor have we been able to id (...)

30The first one is Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdez.70 He was born in Madrid around 1478 and was raised among the squires of Ferdinand and Isabella.71 Right after the discovery of America, he looked for ways to go to this new country, for a reason I do not need to mention here.72 In 1513, he was appointed governor of the Island of Haiti, named Española by Columbus, and then Santo Domingo. He was the first to think about forcing local people to work in the mines of this island. Many of them died from the terrible treatment he inflicted on them. The book he published is called La historia general y natural de las Indias Occidentales, a summary of which he published in Toledo in 1525.73 The first twenty books of his general history were not published until 1535. He mentions several plants and animals and includes details for some of them. Oviedo is very famous in medicine for having discovered the curing benefit of the plant Guaiacum against syphilis.74 The whole series of his work was not published until 1783 by Marquis de Trujillo,75 two hundred years after the first part; but science did not miss much, since it was the first part only that was of interest to science.

  • 76 [José de Acosta (born September/October 1540, Medina del Campo, Spain; died 15 February 1600), Spa (...)
  • 77 [Order of the Mendicants, a movement in Church history that took place primarily in the thirteenth (...)

31After Oviedo came José de Acosta.76 He was born in Medina del Campo in 1539. He joined the Order of the Jesuits at the age of fourteen. At that time, the Order of the Jesuits was as popular as the Order of the Mendicants77 in the thirteenth century. He was sent to Peru as a missionary in 1571 and came back in 1588. He was then appointed superintendent of the college of the Jesuits in Salamanca where he died in 1600. He wrote a book, the title of which is almost the same as the one by Oviedo. It is called Historia natural y moral de las Indias, Seville, 1590. This book became very popular and was translated very promptly in several languages; however, the part on natural history is quite superficial, except for a few interesting facts on animals and plants of Peru where the author lived. His book shows for the first time the large fossils of America that he qualifies as the bones of giants, as per the customs of the country.

  • 78 [Francisco Hernández de Toledo (born 1514, La Puebla de Montalbán, Toledo; died 28 January 1587, M (...)
  • 79 [Philip II, see Lesson 2, note 1.]
  • 80 [Cuvier is apparently in error here: instead of Charles IV, he must have meant to say Philip II; s (...)
  • 81 [Nardo or Leonardo Antonio Recchi (born 1540, died 1595), Archiater physician of Naples.]
  • 82 [Federico Angelo Cesi (born 26 February 1585, Rome; died 1 August 1630, Acquasparta), Italian scie (...)
  • 83 [Cuvier says 1551, but the actual publication date is
  • 84 [Originally published under the title Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, seu, Plantarum an (...)
  • 85 [Recchi, see notes 81 and 84, above.]
  • 86 [Johann Terrentius, also called Johann Schreck, Terrentius Constantiensis, Deng Yuhan Hanpo, or De (...)
  • 87 [Johannes or Giovanni Faber (born 1574, Bamberg; died 1629), German papal doctor, botanist, and ar (...)
  • 88 [Pope Urban VIII, born Maffeo Barberini (baptized 5 April 1568, Florence; died 29 July 1644, Rome) (...)
  • 89 [Fabius Columna, see Lesson 4, notes 41 and 44.]
  • 90 [Father Gregorio de Bolivar (fl. first third of the seventeenth century), a Spanish Franciscan mis (...)
  • 91 [Historiae animalium et mineralium Nouae Hispaniae liber unicus, separately paged 1 to 90, follows (...)
  • 92 [Cuvier again dates this publication to 1551, but the actual date is 1651 (see notes 83 and 84, ab (...)

32The third Spaniard who wrote on the natural history of America during the period we are reviewing is Francisco Hernández,78 primary physician to Philip II.79 He deserves more time spent on him than on the first two men we just mentioned because his book is more scientific than theirs. Unfortunately, it was not published by him at the time he wrote it. Philip II had commissioned him to write a compendium of all productions from Mexico—animal, vegetable, and mineral. He had spent a long time on this work and had twelve hundred paintings done of animals, plants, and other natural objects. This work cost sixty thousand ducats. But it often happens that at the death of the author of a work, or of the king who commissioned it, or even of his prime minister, the work is abandoned. This is exactly what happened for Hernández’s work. It includes figures of an extreme beauty that were commissioned by King Charles IV,80 and would honor the Spanish nation if they were published. The ones that Hernández had commissioned were supposedly sent to Spain and a physician from Naples named Nardo Antonio Recchi compiled them in ten books,81 but they remained in manuscript format for quite a long time. Finally this work was bought by the Prince of Cesi,82 an erudite naturalist who we will talk about later, one of the most fervent members of the Academy of the Lynx; he had it printed in Rome in 155183 under the title Nova plantarum, animalium et mineralium mexicanorum historia, etc.84 We can find it today in all the libraries of all the naturalists who were able to get hold of a copy; it is pretty much the only book on natural history of Mexico that has been published so far because it was so difficult to enter Mexico until the Revolution that freed it from Spain. To tell the story of how this book came to be, we need to look at how it was organized. First there is a section with Recchi’s excerpts;85 but these excerpts are commented on by three members of the Academy of Rome who never went to Mexico; these men are Johann Terrentius,86 physician from Costanza; Johann Faber,87 born in Bamberg and physician to Pope Urban VIII;88 and Fabius Columna whom I told you about earlier.89 Recchi had left quite a large number of illustrations, without any explanation, and these constitute the second section of the book. The remaining part of this section is the annotations of the three editors I just named. It is a huge compilation based on ancient authors, about plants and animals of America that were unknown to the Ancients. At that time, no distinction had yet been made between the natural productions of the two continents; it was believed that what the Ancients wrote on the plants and animals of Greece, Italy, and the African coasts could be applied to plants and animals from America and India. However, the three editors were helped in their task by a Capuchin monk named Gregorio de Bolivar,90 who had never visited Mexico, but had been to South America; he gave them descriptions of various animals that he thought were the same as the ones Hernández had painted. The result of these various works is a commentary very difficult to comprehend, which requires the reader to distinguish between what belongs to Recchi’s text, Hernández’s illustrations, Bolivar’s narrative, and the completely extraneous commentary of these three physicians who never went to Mexico. Those who did not carefully make these distinctions credited Hernández for information that had actually been provided by the three editors, who even included in their narrative natural elements that do not exist in Mexico and illustrations that do not come from Mexico. Some of them even bear English names since they had gathered all kinds of illustrations from everywhere. The book ends with a small section, much shorter than the other ones, with no commentary, and which seems to be the work of a different author, though it is not. His title is Historiae animalium et mineralium novae Hispaniae, liber unicus, Francisco Fernandez auctore.91 This Fernandez is actually Hernández, since in the Spanish language the letter F is often used for the H. From the time of its publication in 1551,92 this book has been the main work of reference on Mexico and, to this day, no work has exceeded it in terms of usefulness.

33In the next session, I will continue with the history of the authors who described foreign productions; but I will talk mainly about those from Holland. Their work was more useful because they came later, and because they had more available ways of gathering information for their research.

Notes

1 [Bernhard von Breydenbach (born c. 1440; died 1497, Mainz), a nobleman and wealthy canon of the cathedral at Mainz who journeyed to the Holy Land from April 1483 to January 1484; he wrote about his travels in Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam or Sanctae Peregrinationes (Mainz: P. Erhardum Reüwich, 1486,1 vol., illus., wood engraving), the first illustrated travel book to be printed. It also broke new ground with a map of the Holy Land in four large views, the first folding plates to appear in a printed book.]

2 We can see a giraffe, which is easily recognizable, a unicorn, a salamander, etc. [M. de St.-Agy].

3 [Hoppius (Christianus Emmanuel), “Anthropomorpha” in Linnaeus (Carolus) (ed.), Amoenitates academicæ, seu, Dissertationes variae physicæ, medicæ, botanicæ: antehac seorsim editæ: nunc collectæ et auctæ: cum tabulis æneis, volumen sextum, Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1763, pp. 63-76), written under the direction of Linnaeus (see Lesson 2, note 112; see also Volume 1, Lesson 7, note 34), and defended by the Russian naturalist Hoppius (born 1736) who seems to have drawn the famous plate of the four “anthropomorphs” that illustrates this work.]

4 [Leonhard Rauwolf or Leonhart Rauwolff (born 21 June 1535, Augsburg; died 15 September 1596, Waitzen, Hungary), German physician, botanist, and traveler, best remembered for his travels through the Levant and Mesopotamia, in 1573 to 1575, for the purpose of discovering herbal medicines; see note 6, below.]

5 Brucker, Koestner, etc., date his death to 1606, but Tob[ias] Cober[us] [author of Observationum castrensium et ungaricarum, Frankfurt: Collegio Paltheniano, 1606, 1 vol. (124 p.), in-8°] who treated him when he was terminally ill, confirms his death to have occurred in 1596. [M. de St.-Agy]

6 [Rauwolf’s observations and impressions of the people, customs, and sights of the Levantine region (see note 4, above) were recorded in Aigentliche Beschreibung der Raiß, so er vor dieser zeit gegen Auffgang in die Morgenländer, fürnemlich Syriam, Iudaeam, Arabiam, Mesopotamiam, Babyloniam, Assyriam, Armeniam, etc., nicht ohne geringe mühe und grosse gefahr selbs volbracht, Lauingen: Leonhart Reinmichel, 1582, 487 p.]

7 This very valuable herbarium [plant collection] went through many tribulations. After the death of Rauwolf [in 1596], it was sent to the library of the Elector of Bavaria [Maximilian I; born 17 April 1573, died 27 September 1651]. During the Thirty Years’War, the Swedish, who took all the literary curiosities from the countries they conquered, took it to Stockholm. Christina [Queen of Sweden; born 18 December 1626, died 19 April 1689] gave it to Isaac Vossius [Dutch scholar; born 1618, died 21 February 1689] who took it to England where [John] Ray [English naturalist; born 1627, died 21 February 1705], [Robert] Morisson [Scottish botanist; born 1620, died 1683], [Leonard] Plukenet [Scottish botanist; born 1641, died 1706], and other scholars in botany consulted it. After Vossius’s death [in 1689], it went back to Holland, with all the books that made up Vossius’s library, and both his library and his herbarium were bought by Leiden’s library, where they are now kept. [M. de St.-Agy]

8 [For Alpinus, see Lesson 4, note 55.]

9 [George Emo (or Hemi), consul for the Republic of Venice in Egypt.]

10 [The sultans of Egypt at the time where Massih Pasha, governed from 1575 to 1580, and Hassan Pasha, from 1580 to 1583.]

11 [Balsam of Mecca (also called the balsam of Gilead or balm of Gilead) is a resinous gum of the tree Commiphora gileadensis, native to southern Arabia and also introduced, in ancient and again in modern times, in Judea. The most famous site of balsam production in the region was the Jewish town of Ein Gedi. The resin was valued in medicine and perfume in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.]

12 [Andrea Doria or D’Oria (born 30 November 1466, Oneglia, northern Italy; died 25 November 1560, Genoa), Italian mercenary soldier, statesman, and admiral; fearless and untiring, he was endowed with outstanding tactical and strategic talents, genuinely devoted to his native city of Genoa, whose liberty he secured from foreign powers and whose government he reorganized into an effective and stable oligarchy; the foremost naval leader of his time.]

13 [De medicina Aegyptiorum libri quatuor: in quibus multa cum de vario mittendi sanguinis usu per venas, arterias, cucurbitulas, ac scarificationes nostris inusitatas, deque inustionibus, & aliis chyrurgicis operationibus, tum de quamplurimis medicamentis apud Aegyptios frequentioribus, elucescunt, Venice: Francesco dei Franceschi, 1591, [8] + 150 + [25] p., illus.; one of the earliest European studies of non-Western medicine, focusing primarily on contemporary (i.e., Turkish) practices observed during a three-year sojourn in Egypt; coffee is mentioned for the first time in this book.]

14 [For the balsam of Mecca, see note 11, above.]

15 [De balsamo dialogus, in quo verissima balsami plante, opobalsami, carpobalsami, & xilobalsami cognitio plerisque antiquorum atque iuniorum medicorum occulta nunc elucescit, Venice: Signum Leonis, 1591, 65 p.]

16 [De Plantis Aegypti liber. In quo non pauci, qui circa herbarum materiam irrepserunt, errores, deprehenduntur, quorum causa hactenus multa medicamenta ad usum medicine admodum expetenda, plerisque medicorum, non sine artis iactura, occulta, atque obsoleta iacuerunt..., Venice: Apud Franciscum de Franciscis, 1592, [4] + 80 + [8] p., illus., in-4°; see Lesson 4, note 55.]

17 [De Plantis Exoticis libri duo, Venice: Joannem Guerilium, 1627, 360 p., illus.; published posthumously by Prosper Alpinus’s son, Alpino Alpinus (died 1637).]

18 [Historiae Aegypti naturalis pars prima: qua continentur rerum Aegyptiarum libri quatuor. Opus postumum/nunc primum ex auctoris autographo, diligentissime recognito, editum; atque ex eodem tabellis aeneis XXV illustratum et uberrimo indice auctum, Leiden: Gerardum Potuliet, 1735, [18] + 248 + [12] p., illus.]

19 [Selim II (born 28 May 1524, Constantinople; died 12/15 December 1574, Topkapi Palace, Constantinople), also known as Sari Selim (Selim the Blond), Selim the Sot, and Selim the Drunkard; the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death.]

20 [Joannes Leo Africanus (born c. 1494, Granada; died c. 1554), Moorish diplomat and author, best known for his description of North Africa. The work was published in Italian under the title Della descrittione dell’Africa et delle cose notabili che iui sono, in 1550, by the Venetian publisher Giovanni Battista Ramusio (Italian geographer and travel writer; born 20 July 1485, Treviso; died 10 July 1557, Padua). The book proved to be extremely popular and was reprinted five times. It was also translated into other languages. French and Latin editions were published in 1556, while an English version was published in 1600, by George Bishop in London, under the title A Geographical Historie of Africa, written in Arabicke and Italian, 420 p., fold. map.]

21 [Pope Leon X, Giovanni di Lorenzo de’Medici (born 11 December 1475, Florence; died 1 December 1521, Rome), head of the Catholic Church from 9 March 1513 until his death.]

22 [For Ramusio, see note 20, above.]

23 [Bornu, the Bornu Empire, an African state of Nigeria from 1380 to 1893.]

24 [Luis del Marmol Carvajal (born 1520, Granada; died 1600, Velez Malaga, Spain), Spanish chronicler, best known for his Descripción general de África, sus guerras y vicisitudes, desde la fundación del mahometismo hasta el año 1571, published by René Rabut, Granada, in 1573.]

25 [Descripción general de África y origen del nombre del continente según León el Africano y Luis del Mármol, Granada: René Rabut, 1573; a primary source of information on North Africa, as well as a preliminary study on the life, work, and literature of Joannes Leo Africanus (see note 20, above.]

26 [Joannes Leo Africanus, see notes 20 and 25, above.]

27 [See Volume 1, Part 7.]

28 [Eduardo Lopez, Portuguese trader to Congo and Angola who wrote one of the earliest descriptions of Central Africa; he first left Portugal for the Congo in April 1578, sailing on his uncle’s trading vessel, and later passed everything he knew about the Congo to Filippo Pigafetta (Italian mathematician and explorer; born 1533, died 1604), who had been charged with collecting information about the region. The result was published by Pigafetta in 1591 (see note 33, below), although much of what it contained bordered on the fabulous.]

29 This king [Philip II of Spain (born 21 May 1527, Valladolid, Spain; died 13 September 1598, El Escorial, Spain] was at that time busy with his projects [the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585 to 1604] against England. [M. de St.-Agy]

30 [Pope Sixtus V or Xystus V, Felice Peretti di Montalto (born 13 December 1521, Grottammare, Papal States; died 27 August 1590, Rome), head of the Catholic Church from 24 April 1585 until his death; he was the last Pope to take the name “Sixtus” upon his election.]

31 [See note 31, above.]

32 [For Pigafetta, see note 28, above.]

33 [Relatione del Reame di Congo e della circonvicine contrade. Tratta dalli Scritti & ragionamente di Odoardo Lopez Portoghese per Filippos Pigafetta. Con dissegni vari de Geografia, di piante, d’habiti, d’animali, & altro, Rome: Bartolomeo Grassi, 1591, [8] + 82 p.; an English translation was published by John Wolfe, in London, in 1797.] Lopez then left for the Congo with the promise to come back to Rome as soon as he could; but he was never heard from again. [M. de St.-Agy]

34 [See Volume 1, Part 7.]

35 [Christopher Columbus, see Volume 1, Lesson 23, note 29.]

36 [Bartholomew Diaz (born c. 1451, Algarve, Kingdom of Portugal; died 29 May 1500, Cape of Good Hope), nobleman of the Portuguese royal household and Portuguese explorer; he sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.]

37 [John II of Portugal (born 3 March 1455, Lisbon; died 25 October 1495, Alvor, Portimão, Kingdom of Algarve), called the Perfect Prince (Príncipe Perfeito), King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1481 until his death in 1495; he is best known for re-establishing the power of the Portuguese throne, reinvigorating its economy, and renewing its exploration of Africa and the Orient.]

38 Cuvier knows better than I that [Juan de] Grijalva [Spanish conquistador, born c. 1489, Cuéllar, Spain; died 21 January 1527] was only sent there to recognize that Yucatan had been discovered by [Francisco] Hernández de Córdoba [Spanish conquistador, died 1517, Cuba; known to history mainly for the ill-fated expedition he led in 1517, in the course of which the first European accounts of the Yucatan Peninsula were compiled]; but he will allow me to remind some of his readers who might have forgotten about it. It is said that when the Spanish arrived in Yucatan, men wore mirrors of a shiny stone that they used to look at themselves constantly but women did not use them! The origin of the name of their country is no less unique. When Hernandez de Cordoba asked the Indians what was the name of their country, they responded Iucatan, which means “What did you say?” and the name remained. [M. de St.-Agy]

39 [Fernando Cortez, Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, first Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (born 1485, Medellin, Spain; died 2 December 1547, Castilleja de la Cuesta, Castile), Spanish conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early sixteenth century; he was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.]

40 [Francisco Pizarro González (born c. 1471 or 1476, Trujillo, Castile; died 26 June 1541, Lima), Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire.]

41 [Diego de Almagro (born c. 1475, Almagro, Castile; died 8 July 1538, Cuzco, New Castile, Spanish Empire), also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo (The Elder), Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro (see note 40, above); he participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.]

42 [Potosi, city and capital of the department of Potosi in Bolivia, that served as the major supply of silver for Spain during the period of the New World Spanish Empire.]

43 It was named Florida because it was discovered on Palm Sunday [Pascua florida means flowery festival or feast of flowers in Spanish, a term usually referring to the Easter season] by Hernando de Soto [born c. 1496/1497, Estremadura, Spain; died 21 May 1542, present-day Arkansas), Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River]. [M. de St.-Agy]

44 [Vasco de Gama, first Count of Vidigueira (born c. 1460 or 1469, Alentejo, Portugal; died 23 December 1524, Cochin, India), Portuguese explorer, one of the most famous and celebrated explorers from the Age of Discovery, the first European to reach India by sea, a discovery that paved the way for the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia; the route meant that the Portuguese would not need to cross the highly disputed Mediterranean nor the dangerous Arabia, and that the whole voyage could be made by sea.]

45 [Alfonso de Albuquerque (born c. 1453, Alhandra, Portugal; died 16 December 1515, at sea), known as Albuquerque the Great, Portuguese general, statesman, and a leading empire builder; he was the first European to enter the Persian Gulf and he led the first voyage by a European fleet into the Red Sea.]

46 [Ferdinand Magellan (born c. 1480, Sabrosa, Portugal; died 27 April 1521, Mactan, Philippines), Portuguese explorer, best known for having organized the first circumnavigation of the Earth, in service to King Charles I of Spain (born 24 February 1500, died 21 September 1558; ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement in 1556) in search of a westward route to the Spice Islands, the present-day Maluku Islands in Indonesia.]

47 [Pedro Álvares Cabral (born 1467 or 1468, Belmonte, Portugal; died c. 1520, Santarém, Portugal), Portuguese nobleman, military commander, navigator, and explorer, regarded as the discoverer of Brazil.]

48 [Vincente Yanez Pinzón (born c. 1462, Palos de la Frontera, Spain; died after 1514, Triana, Seville), Spanish navigator, explorer, and conquistador, the youngest of the Pinzón brothers. Along with his older brother Martín Alonso Pinzón (born c. 1441, Palos de la Frontera, Spain; died c. 1493, Palos de la Frontera), who captained the Pinta, he sailed with Christopher Columbus (see Volume 1, Lesson 23, note 29) on the first voyage to the New World in 1492, as captain of the Niña. His was the first European expedition to explore the coast of Brazil and to provide a description of the Amazon River’s mouth.]

49 [Amerigo Vespucci (born 9 March 1454, Florence; died 22 February 1512, Seville), Italian explorer, financier, navigator, and cartographer who first demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus’s voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to Afro-Eurasians. Colloquially referred to as the New World, this second super continent came to be termed “America,” probably deriving its name from the feminized Latin version of Vespucci’s first name.]

50 [Pope Alexander VI, Roderic Llançol i de Borja (born 1 January 1431, Xàtiva, Spain; died 18 August 1503, Rome), head of the Catholic Church from 11 August 1492 until his death; one of the most controversial of the Renaissance Popes, his Italianized Valencian surname Borgia became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, which are traditionally considered to characterize his papacy.]

51 [St. Ignatius of Loyola (born c. 27 October 1491, Loyola; died 31 July 1556, Rome), a Spanish knight from a local Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and, on 19 April 1541, became its first Superior General. He emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation; his devotion to the Catholic Church was characterized by absolute obedience to the Pope.]

52 [St. Francis Xavier (born 7 April 1506, Xavier, Spain; died 3 December 1552, São João Island, now China), born into a wealthy family in northern Spain, he left his wealth behind and, after meeting St. Ignatius Loyola (see note 51, above), he was ordained in 1537. St. Francis worked at many foreign missions in Africa and India. He founded the first Christian mission in Japan and was on his way to China when he died. He is credited with baptizing more than 30,000 people and is the patron saint of missions.]

53 [Mathieu or Matteo Ricci (born 6 October 1552, Macerata, Papal States; died 11 May 1610, Bejing, Ming Empire), an Italian Jesuit priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China Mission, as it existed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.]

54 [Wanli Emperor, Zhu Yijun (born 4 September 1563; died 18 August 1620, Bejing), thirteenth emperor of the Ming Dynasty in China, his rule of forty-eight years (1572 to 1620) was the longest in the Ming dynasty and it witnessed the steady decline of the dynasty.]

55 He [Mathieu Ricci] brought him [Wanli Emperor] several presents that he observed with great curiosity, especially a clock and an alarm wrist watch, two objects that were new to China at that time. [M. de St.-Agy]

56 [Khang-Hi, Kang-hsi, or Kangxi (born 4 May 1654, Bejing; died 20 December 1722, Bejing), the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the first to be born on Chinese soil south of the Pass (Beijing) and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722.]

57 [For cochineal, see Lesson 4, note 63, above.]

58 [The Duke of Alba, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, also known as Ferdinandus Toletanus Dux Albanus (born 29 October 1507, Piedrahita, Spain; died 11 December 1582, Lisbon), Spanish noble, soldier, and diplomat, the third Duke of Alba de Tormes, whose life was marked by a long series of military successes that contributed to Spain reaching its peak during the sixteenth century.]

59 [Philip II, see Lesson 2, note 1.]

60 [William I, Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent (born 24 April 1533, Dillenburg, Holy Roman Empire, now in Germany; died 10 July 1584, Delft), the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years’ War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648.]

61 Other historians say that it took him three weeks. The army was under the command of this violent Duke of Alba, of whom Cuvier already talked about [see note 58, above]. [M. de St.-Agy]

62 [House of Braganza, officially the Most Serene House of Braganza, an important imperial, royal, and noble house of Portuguese origin, a branch of the House of Aviz, and thus a descendant house of the Portuguese House of Burgundy; the House evolved from being powerful dukes of Portuguese nobility, to ruling as the monarchs of Portugal and the Algarves, from 1640 to 1910, and as monarchs of Brazil, from 1815 to 1889.]

63 [Jacob Le Maire (born c. 1585, Antwerp or Amsterdam; died 22 December 1616, at sea), a Dutch mariner who circumnavigated the Earth in 1615 and 1616; the strait between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados was named the Le Maire Strait in his honor, although not without controversy.]

64 [Sir Francis Drake, vice admiral (born c. 1540, Tavistock, Devon, England; died 27 January 1596, Portobello, Colón, Panama), an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the Earth, from 1577 to 1580. Elizabeth I of England (see Lesson 3, note 104) awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He died of dysentery after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico. His exploits were legendary, making him a hero to the English but a pirate to the Spaniards.]

65 [New Albion, also known as Nova Albion, the name of all North America north of New Spain, from “sea to sea,” claimed by Sir Francis Drake (see note 64, above) for England in 1579; the extent of New Albion and the location of Drake’s landing have long been debated by historians, but most believe that he came ashore somewhere on the coast of northern California.]

66 [Sir Walter] Raleigh [(born c. 1554, Hayes Barton, Devonshire, England; died 29 October 1618, London), an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer, well known also for popularizing tobacco in England] was a beautiful wayfarer; he was almost six feet tall. He came to France as a volunteer together with Henry de Champernon who was sent by Elizabeth [see Lesson 3, note 104] to help the Protestants who were persecuted. He escaped the terrible St. Bartholomew’s [Day] massacre [in 1572, a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a wave of Roman Catholic mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants), during the French Wars of Religion] and was still in France after Charles IV’s death [see note 80, below]. He gathered information that was extremely useful to his queen.
A frivolous event enhanced the favor he [Raleigh] was starting to enjoy from Elizabeth. During one of her walks, the queen, who was so elegant and tidy, was stopped by some mud on her way. She was hesitating and seemed to want to turn around when Raleigh suddenly removed the rich fluffy coat he was wearing and spread it at the feet of his queen. Surprised, yet charmed by this gallantry, she crossed the muddy stretch on this soft carpet.
Raleigh is credited with the introduction of tobacco in England, especially because of his frequent use of it. It is said that one day he asked one of his servants who had been working for him for just a few days to go and get some beer for him. While the servant was gone to do so, Raleigh lit a pipe and started smoking it. When the servant came back and saw with astonishment and fear that some heavy smoke was coming out of the mouth of his master, he thought that his body was on fire and to extinguish it, he did not find anything better than to throw the beer he was bringing onto Raleigh’s face. [M. de St.-Agy]

67 [James I, see Lesson 4, note 73.]

68 [Baron Charles Athanase] Walckenaer [French civil servant and scientist; born 1771, Paris; died 1852, Paris] differs somewhat from Cuvier’s opinion. According to Cuvier, the country discovered by Raleigh [see note 66, above] was called Wingandacoa by the indigenous people, and their king was named Wingina. Elizabeth [see Lesson 3, note 104], whose Admiral announced this discovery [based on what] his two captains had related, was the one who named this place Virginia. [M. de St.-Agy]

69 A few historians relate that a vicious conformation made celibacy an imperial law that she could not have violated without losing her life. The order she gave, which was strictly executed, not to have her body autopsied or examined after her death would tend to confirm this information. She was the most elegant and infatuating person one had ever seen. She forbad with an edict that her portrait be engraved until a skilled painter would make one that would satisfy her completely and that could be used as a model for the others. “I do not want,” she said, “to be represented in inaccurate copies, with imperfections of which, by the grace of God, I am exempt.” [M. de St. Agy]

70 [Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (born August 1478, Madrid; died 1557, Valladolid), a Spanish historian and writer; he is commonly known as “Oviedo” even though his family name is Fernández. He participated in the Spanish colonization of the Caribbean, and wrote a long chronicle of this project, which is one of the few primary sources about it. For three centuries, only a small portion of it was published, but this abridgement was widely read in the sixteenth century in Spanish, English, and French editions.]

71 [King Ferdinand II of Aragon (born 10 March 1452, Sos del Rey Católico; died 23 January 1516, Madrigalejo, Extremadura) and Queen Isabella I of Castile (born 22 April 1451, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain; died 26 November 1504, Medina del Campo, Spain), the Catholic Monarchs, one of the most renowned royal couples in history, they are best remembered for sponsoring conquistadors to expand their empire overseas and uniting disparate kingdoms into what eventually became modern Spain.]

72 This reason is indeed not very exciting to know; it was due to the illness that is known today as syphilis. [M. de St.-Agy]

73 [Cuvier says 1525, but Oviedo’s Sumario de la Natural Historia de las Indias was published in 1526, in Toledo by Ramon Petras; the full version of his work, La historia general y natural de las Indias Occidentales, islas y tierra-firme del mar oceano, was published in Seville in 1535.]

74 [Guaiacum officinale, commonly known as Roughbark Lignum-vitae, Guaiacwood or Gaïacwood; a species of tree of the caltrop family Zygophyllaceae, native to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America, used in the treatment of various infectious diseases.]

75 [We have not been able to identify the Marquis de Trujillo (Truxillo?) nor have we been able to identify this 1783 edition of the La historia general y natural de las Indias Occidentales.]

76 [José de Acosta (born September/October 1540, Medina del Campo, Spain; died 15 February 1600), Spanish Jesuit missionary and naturalist in Latin America, author of Historia natural y moral de las Indias, Sevilla: Juan de Leon, 1590, 537 + [33] p., which describes Inca and Aztec customs and history, and provides other information such as winds and tides, lakes, rivers, plants, animals, and mineral resources in the New World.]

77 [Order of the Mendicants, a movement in Church history that took place primarily in the thirteenth century in Western Europe. Christian mendicant orders were religious orders that depended directly on charity for their livelihood; they, in principle, did not own property, either individually or collectively, believing that they were thereby copying the way of life followed by Jesus, and able to spend all their time and energy on religious work.]

78 [Francisco Hernández de Toledo (born 1514, La Puebla de Montalbán, Toledo; died 28 January 1587, Madrid), naturalist and court physician to the King of Spain. Hernández was among the first wave of Spanish Renaissance physicians practicing according to the revived principles formulated by Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna (see Volume 1, Lessons 5, 16, and 21). In 1570, he was ordered to embark on the first scientific mission in the New World, a study of the region’s medicinal plants. Accompanied by his son Juan, he traveled for seven years in Mexico, collecting and classifying plants and animals, interviewing the indigenous people through translators, and conducting medical studies.]

79 [Philip II, see Lesson 2, note 1.]

80 [Cuvier is apparently in error here: instead of Charles IV, he must have meant to say Philip II; see Lesson 2, note 1.]

81 [Nardo or Leonardo Antonio Recchi (born 1540, died 1595), Archiater physician of Naples.]

82 [Federico Angelo Cesi (born 26 February 1585, Rome; died 1 August 1630, Acquasparta), Italian scientist, naturalist, founder of the Academy of the Lynx (see Lesson 4, note 61, above), and author of Theatrum totius naturae, a “universal theater of nature,” which he began around 1615 and never completed; it was a project for a comprehensive encyclopedia of natural history. On his father’s death in 1630, he became lord of Acquasparta.]

83 [Cuvier says 1551, but the actual publication date is

84 [Originally published under the title Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, seu, Plantarum animalium mineralium Mexicanorum historia, some reissue copies have letter press title Nova plantarum, animalium et mineralium mexicanorum historia a Francisco Hernandez medico in indiis praestantissimo primum compilata, dein a Nardo Antonio Reccho in volumen digesta. It was edited by Nardo Antonio Recchi, with notes by Johann Terrentius, Johann Faber, Fabius Columna, and Federico Cesi; Rome: Vitale Mascardi, for Biagio Deversini and Zenobio Masotti, 1651, 950 + 90 p.; the earliest natural history of Mexico, this book provides a record of the first official scientific expedition to the New World.]

85 [Recchi, see notes 81 and 84, above.]

86 [Johann Terrentius, also called Johann Schreck, Terrentius Constantiensis, Deng Yuhan Hanpo, or Deng Zhen Lohan (born 1576, Bingen, Baden-Württemberg or Constance; died 11 May 1630, Beijing), a German Jesuit, missionary to China, polymath, and a highly respected medic, affiliated with the Academy of the Lynx (see Lesson 4, note 61, above).]

87 [Johannes or Giovanni Faber (born 1574, Bamberg; died 1629), German papal doctor, botanist, and art collector, originally from Bamberg in Bavaria, who lived in Rome from 1598. He was curator of the Vatican botanical garden, a member and secretary of the Academy of the Lynx (see Lesson 4, note 61, above), and credited with coining the term “microscope,” which he derived from the Greek words micron, meaning “small,” and skopein, meaning “to look at”; the word was meant to be analogous with telescope.]

88 [Pope Urban VIII, born Maffeo Barberini (baptized 5 April 1568, Florence; died 29 July 1644, Rome), head of the Catholic Church from 6 August 1623 until his death. He was the last Pope to expand the papal territory by force of arms, and was a prominent patron of the arts and reformer of Church missions; however, the massive debts incurred during his papacy greatly weakened his successors, who were unable to maintain the papacy’s longstanding political and military influence in Europe. He was also involved in the famous controversy with Galileo and his theory on heliocentrism.]

89 [Fabius Columna, see Lesson 4, notes 41 and 44.]

90 [Father Gregorio de Bolivar (fl. first third of the seventeenth century), a Spanish Franciscan missionary whose testimony about the animals of Mexico was incorporated in Nova plantarum, animalium et mineralium mexicanorum historia (see note 84, above); unfortunately, after arriving in Rome in 1625, he destroyed his notes, maps, and drawings of plants and animals for fear of attacks from The Sacred Congregation (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide), the department of the pontifical administration, founded in the early seventeenth century, charged with the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries).]

91 [Historiae animalium et mineralium Nouae Hispaniae liber unicus, separately paged 1 to 90, follows the main body of Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, seu, Plantarum animalium mineralium Mexicanorum historia (see note 84, above).]

92 [Cuvier again dates this publication to 1551, but the actual date is 1651 (see notes 83 and 84, above).]

Table des illustrations

Légende Ô caput elleboro dignumFool’s Cap Map of the World believed to be by Oronce Fine (c. 1580-1590). Bibliothèque nationale de France.
URL http://books.openedition.org/mnhn/docannexe/image/2827/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M

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