Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Aimé Bonpland

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BONPLAND, Aimé, French traveller and botanist, was born at Rochelle, August 22, 1773. After serving as a surgeon in the French navy and studying under Corvisart at Paris, he accompanied Humboldt during five years of travel in Mexico, Colombia, and the districts bordering on the Orinoco and Amazon. In these explorations Bonpland collected and classified about 6000 plants till then mostly unknown in Europe, which he afterwards described in Plantes Equinoxiales, &c. (Paris, 1808-1816). On returning to Paris he received a pension and the superintendence of the gardens at Malmaison, became acquainted with Gay-Lussac, Arago, and other eminent scientists, and published Monographie des Mélastomées (1806), and Description des plantes rares de Navarre. After vainly endeavouring to persuade Napoleon to retire to America, he set out, in 1816, with various European plants for Buenos Ayres, where he was elected professor of natural history, an office which he soon quitted in order to explore Central South America. While journeying to Bolivia he was arrested as a spy, in 1821, by command of Dr Francia, who detained him a prisoner at Santa Marta until 1831, during which time he acted with great disinterestedness as a physician to the neighbouring poor. On regaining liberty he resided at San Borje in the province of Corrientes, until his removal in 1853 to Santa Anna, where he occupied himself in scientific research, and in cultivating the orange trees which he had introduced. He was widely respected, and was presented with an estate worth 10,000 piastres by the Government of Corrientes. His intention of revisiting Paris was frustrated by his death at Santa Anna in 1858. (See Humboldt's Travels.)