Bonpland, Aimé Jacques (1773–1858)

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Bonpland, Aimé Jacques (1773–1858)

Aimé Jacques Bonpland (b. 29 August 1773; d. 11 May 1858), naturalist. Bonpland was born in La Rochelle, France, and studied medicine at the University of Paris. However, his real interest was in natural science. From 1799 to 1804 he accompanied Alexander von Humboldt on his travels to South America, where he collected 60,000 plants. Bernardino Rivadavia invited Bonpland to visit Buenos Aires. In 1817, with his wife and two assistants, he did so, and stayed. In 1818 he was named naturalist of the Río de la Plata and became deeply interested in the possibility of cultivating yerba maté in the former Jesuit reducciónes. Bonpland practiced medicine in Buenos Aires, and in 1821 was named to the chair of medicine of the Instituto Médico Militar. While traveling to the old Jesuit missions, he ran afoul of the dictator of Paraguay, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who kept him in Paraguay from 1822 to 1831.

Bonpland spoke out against the Rosas dictatorship and became involved in anti-Rosas activity. He remained in the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, and in 1854 was named director of the Museo de la Provincia in Corrientes. Bonpland conducted numerous scientific expeditions, sending back to France and Germany flora and fauna of the Río de la Plata. He died in São Borja, Brazil.

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Adolphe Brunel, Biographie d'Aimé Bonpland: Compagnon de voyage et collaborateur d'Al (1871).

Guillermo Furlong Cardiff, "En el centenario de Aimé Bonpland, 1858–1859," in Anales de la Academia argentina de geografía, no. 2 (1958).

Additional Bibliography

Helferich, Gerard. Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey that Changed the Way We See the World. New York: Gotham Books, 2004.

Humboldt, Alexander von, et al. Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America during the Years 1799–1804. Boston, MA:, 2005.

Zea, Leopoldo, and Alberto García Saladino. Humboldt y América Latina. México: Programa Universitario de Difusión de Estudios Latinoamericanos: Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000.

                                       Nicholas P. Cushner

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Bonpland, Aimé Jacques (1773–1858)

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