The 19th-Century Pioneers of Nepalese Biodiversity

The Linnean Society of London,
Burlington House, Piccadilly,
W1J 0BF,
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 11

The 19th-Century Pioneers of Nepalese Biodiversity: Hooker, Hodgson, Wallich and Buchanan-Hamilton


12:30 - 13:00 Wednesday 3 February 2016


2016 sees the celebration of the bicentenary of diplomatic ties between Britain and Nepal—a special relationship which predates Nepal’s diplomatic links with any other country by some 150 years. However, scientific links date back even further, to 1802, when East India Company Surgeon-naturalist Dr Francis BuchananHamilton made the first natural history collections in Nepal. Professional botanists Nathaniel Wallich and Joseph Hooker, and the prestigious amateur zoologist Brian Hodgson, soon followed, but there were others whose roles have largely been forgotten—including many local collaborators. This lunchtime lecture explores the formative years of natural history research in Nepal (1795–1850), redressing the balance between botany and zoology and highlighting the roles of the unsung collaborators. The correspondence networks and relationships between local researchers and professionals based in ‘comfortable institutions’ and Societies in London and Calcutta (Kolkata) are explored and the fate of these early collections revealed.

Dr Mark Watson FLS leads the Major Floras research programme at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and specialises in the systematics and conservation of plants of China and the Himalayan region. He is Editor-in-Chief of the international Flora of Nepal project and has research interests in the early natural history explorers of the Himalaya, especially the life of Francis Buchanan-Hamilton and his collections, which are primarily in the Linnean Society archives.

This meeting is free and open to all; registration is not necessary. Tea and coffee will be served in the Library following the event. Image © The Linnean Society of London.

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