Aimé Bonpland

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Aimé Bonpland in 1850.

Aimé Jacques Alexandre Bonpland (29 August 1773 – 4 May 1858) was a French explorer and botanist.

Bonpland's real name was Goujaud, and he was born in La Rochelle, a coastal city in France. After serving as a surgeon in the French army, and studying under J. N. Corvisart at Paris, he accompanied Alexander von Humboldt during five years of travel in Mexico, Colombia and the districts bordering on the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. In these explorations he collected and classified about 60 000 plants that were, until then, mostly unknown in Europe. He later described his finds in Plantes equinoxiales (Paris, 1808-1816). A semi-fictional account of these travels is to be found in Daniel Kehlmann's Die Vermessung der Welt (also published in English as Measuring the World: A Novel, translated by Carol Brown Janeway).

On returning to Paris he received a pension and the superintendence of the gardens at Malmaison, and published Monographie des Melastomes (1806), and Description des plantes rares cultivées à Malmaison et à Navarre (1813). In 1816 he set out, taking with him various European plants, for Buenos Aires, where he was elected professor of natural history, an office which he soon left in order to explore central South America. In 1820 Bonpland established a plantation near the Paraná, but its success annoyed the dictator of Paraguay, who had Bonpland put in prison by command of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, the dictator of Paraguay, who detained him until 1831.[1]

On regaining liberty he resided at San Borga in the province of Corrientes, Argentina until his removal in 1853 to Santa Ana, in Misiones, today a small town called "Bonpland" in his honor, close to Restauracion where he died. While living in Missiones he had income as a yerba mate farmer and merchant.[2]

Bonpland Street in the ritzy Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo Hollywood lies among streets named after Charles Darwin, Robert FitzRoy and Alexander von Humboldt. Many animals and plants are also named in his honor, including the squid Grimalditeuthis bonplandi and the orchid Ornithocephalus bonplandi.

The lunar crater Bonpland is named after him. Also Pico Bonpland in the Venezuelan Andes is named to his honor, although he never visited the Venezuelan Andes. A peak of over 2300m in New Zealand also bears his name. The mountain is near the head of Lake Wakatipu in the South Island.

External links


  2. Obregón. 1999. Los soportes histórico y científico de la pieza Humboldt & Bonpland, taxidermistas de Ibsen Martínez. Latin American Theatre Review.
  3. "Author Query". International Plant Names Index. 

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