"Oh God! When I reflect on fate of these botanists, indeed, it is uncertain whether I will name them wise or insane because of their enthusiasm about the plants".(From Linnaeus: Critica botanica, 1737)
A map showing the routes of Linnaeus' apostles. Only König is missing (Wallström:Svenska upptäckare 1982)
1. Christopher Tärnström (1703-1746)
The very first among the " apostles", some years older than Linnaeus himself.
Became a clergyman in
1739, failed as a school teacher in Östhammar and Waxholm. Was
willing leave his wife and the children and with Linnaeus' support he
got a job as the ship's priest on the East Indiaman Calmar. The
destination was Canton and he had only a few concrete tasks. Primarily
he would bring home a tea-bush or at least some tea seeds, secondarily
he would make temperature observations, especially at the equator. A
third task would to bring home to the Queen Lovisa Ulrika "living goldfishes".
The voyage went smoothly by assistance of the trade-winds until they
reached the South China Sea. Suddenly the trade-winds blew in
the opposite direction and they were not able to get to Canton that
year but were forced to hibernate in a seaport at the small island
group Pulo Condor outside present Vietnam. Tärnström
at once started to botanise, but suddenly his diary ends on Nov 10.
He was seriously infected by some tropical disease and by on
Dec 4, he had passed away. He was buried on the shore with four other
Swedes. Tärnström was the first of Linnaeus'
disciples who died abroad and now the widow started to accuse Linnaeus
loudly for inducing her husband to this fatal expedition. Linnaeus was
forced to provide for her financially. Linnaeus named a tropical plant
|2. Fredrik Hasselqvist (1722-1752)
Naturalist. Born in Törnevalla, Östergötland, Jan 3, 1722. Parents: perpetual curate Anders Hasselquist and Helena Maria Pontin. Student in Uppsala in 1741. Studying medicine and natural history under Linnaeus. Intended to travel to "the Holy land", but was advised by Linnaeus not to go as his health situation was quite poor. Hasselquist on the other hand was stubborn and the financial conditions were soon solved. In August 1749 he began his expedition. The very same year he graduated in Medicine. He arrived at the sea-port Izmir (Smyrna) in Turkey and further along his way he got ashore on some islands in the Mediterranean until he reached Egypt. Facing the culture of the Middle East resulted in a deep impact and culture chock, especially concerning the behaviour of women. The women were afraid to show their faces but were showing such parts of the human body European women never would show. "They were nude from the neck to the waist" Hasselquist described the women on the island of Melos, and thought that the female dancers only were "raising the lusts of flesh". This is really something to consider nowadays when Moslem immigrants react and are horrified at the western style and morals. After his stay in Egypt Hasselqvist brought with him a large amount of Natural History items back again to Izmir, but he was terribly sick. He passed away in the village of Bodga February 9, 1752, only thirty years old. His abundant material was confiscated as substitution for his debts, but all materials could be released by a personal action of Queen Lovisa Ulrika. In 1752 the collections arrived in Sweden and Linnaeus at once went to Drottningholm Palace, where the boxes were kept. He "turned dizzy at seeing such big amount of incredible things at one time". Later all collections of Hasselquist were donated to the University of Uppsala by the Swedish King. Hasselquists diaries and notes were edited by Linnaeus under the name of Iter Palestinum or A travel to Holy Land (1757) which was translated into several languages.
|3. Pehr Osbeck (1723-1805)
|4. Olof Torén (1718-1753)
Son of a registering-clerk from Gällstad at Åsunden Lake. Naturalist, clergyman. Immediately after being ordained in Dec 1747, he got a much sought after among younger clergymen a job as ship-priest on the East Indiaman "Hoppet" (Hope) which was destined for Canton, China. From Java another East Indiaman, "Freden" (Peace), joined and the two ships cast anchor at Canton on Aug 21 same year. The voyage back started on Jan 27, 1749. "Hope" was so heavily loaded that the ship could use only small sails, but in spite of that the voyage proceeded without any problems and June 11 the two ships were back in Gothenburg. The year after, 1750, Torén went on board a new East Indiaman, "Götha Leijon" (the Gothic Lion). In 1750 Osbeck also went to China but they were on board different ships. In spite of that they returned to Gothenburg on the very same day, July 26, 1772. Torén’s health was broken and he passed away in Näsinge, Bohuslän, thirteen months after being back Sweden. Before he died he wrote seven letters to Linnaeus about his travels and stay in China. Torén also tried to bring home thee famous tea-bush but during the last voyage the plants withered. However, ten years later, a certain captain named Ekeberg succeeded to bring home a living tea-bush. But even if Torén failed concerning the tea-bush, he brought home a considerable number of other plants. Linnaeus named Torenia after Torén.
|5. Peter (Petter, Per,
|6. Pehr Loefling (1729-1756)
Another task was to improve growing a certain kind of cinnamon which originally came from the districts of Quijos and Macas, a certain kind of cinnamon which was thought to be better and of a higher quality than the kind which was encountered on Ceylon. Loefling was given four accompanying assistants. But the expedition was very badly equipped and the leader, Joseph Iturriuaga, led the participants from one problem to another. They were suffering from hunger as there was not enough food, even more when the heat became more and more painful and serious fever diseases were prevalent. At the end of 1756 the half number of the expedition members had passed away. Loefling’s own fever attacks became more and more violent and at last he, too, passed away on February 22, 1756; he was buried below an orange tree at the missionary station of Caraní. At this point his South American stay had lasted for two years. The Natural History collections comprised mostly medicinal herbs and fishes. When hearing about Loefing’s death, Linnaeus expresses deep mourning and grieves about the fact that South America would not be explored for a long time in the future. However, Linnaeus composes some of Loefling’s expedition notes in Iter Hispanicum (Travel to Spain), 1758.
7. Johan Gerhard Koenig (1728-1785)
|8. Pehr Kalm (1716-1779)
|9. Daniel Rolander (1725-1793)
From Småland, born in
Hälleberga. Rolander is undertaking that special voyage
Linnaeus himself wanted
to make. Linnaeus supported him financially. Unfortunately
sick already on his way out, and even more worse, he was suffering from
mental disturbance. He used big amounts of alcohol
and he became more or less a drunkard. In 1755 the expedition
Paramaribo, Suriname. Linnaeus had promised him a paradise on
instead it showed to be a veritable inferno. Rolander
cheated. His dreadful fright of wild animals, like big snakes
wired around the trees, big cats sneaking around in the
irritating insects plus a climate wet streaming with
in the interruption of the expedition already after seven months. After
arrival home, Rolander's mental condition impaired, he got
continued to drink and at last, he passes away in Lund,
Skåne, after moving
from one place to another, economically totally broken. Before that
he carefully guarded his plant collections and was not willing
to share it
to anybody, not even to Linnaeus. His refusal to share with Linnaeus
Linnaeus a burglar. Once when Rolander stayed in Stockholm
into Rolander's room and stole a plant, a sauvagesia.
incident Rolander moved to Denmark, cut off all contact with Linnaeus
donated his entire collections to Linnaeus' Danish competitors.
nothing. Linnaeus characterized Rolander as "the ungrateful
disciple Rolander". Not until
1811 Rolander's expedition notes,
consisting of 700 pages in Latin, was published posthumously
under the title Diarium surinamense, quod sub
conscripsit Daniel Rolander (Diary from Suriname which is
an exotic journey by Daniel Rolander).
|10. Anton Rolandsson Martin (1729-1785)
Born in Reval, Livland, by Swedish parents. Bachelor's degree at the university of Åbo. Specializing in Botanic. Joined a whaling-ship to Spitzbergen. The stay was very short, three days only, but he documented everything he noticed carefully. He collected some moss and lichen which made Linnaeus satisfied. In spite of his short visit, Martin appears to be the first Swedish polar explorer. Also he collected some zoological and botanic items at the west coast of Norway. The rest of his life Martin spent as a poor tutor and naturalist i Finland. He also passed away in Finland.
|11. Carl Fredrik Adler (1720-1761)
Physician and botanist, first barber-surgeon. His parents were Niklas Adler and Brita Geijer.Adler studied at Uppsala under Linnaeus and achieved the doctor's degree on June 9, 1752, upon a thesis on the bioluminescence of sea (Noctiluca marina).
Undertook several voyages as a naval surgeon onboard some different Swedish East Indiamen. Sent home some collected material from China, but the result was quite poor, as he mostly was forced to stay onboard the ship on behalf of his occupation. From his last voyage he never came back home, he passed away in "fever" on the island of Java, at an age of 41.
|12. Anders Berlin (1746-1773)
From northern Sweden.
|13. Jöran Johansson
Naturalist, physician. Born in Huseby foundry Nov 30, 1739. Parents: county medical officer Johan Stensson Rothman and his second wife Anna Elisabet Rudebeck. Dr Rothman, the father of Jöran, was one of Linnaeus' teachers during Linnaeus' upper-school time in Växjö.Jöran Rothman acheived Bachelor's degree in Uppsala 1757, MA 1761 and Dr of medicine after defending a thesis on De raphania (On black turnip radish) under Linnaeus. Went to Tunisia and Libya 1774 by order of The royal Science academy. The economic support was unfortunately too small and Rothman soon was totally broke. Even his physical condition was extremely bad and he passed away on Dec 4, 1778. His left behind notes and diaries would be kept at the Science academy but are still not edited. Among his contributions to literature we will find Voltaire and pole translated into Swedish. Rothman was a true lover of literature and he possessed much knowledge in different languages.
|14. Johan Peter Falck (1732-1773)
Naturalist, botanist, physician. Born in Broddetorp, Västergötland in 1732. Parents: the judge-advocate at the Regiment of Skaraborg and Beata Vinge. He faced hard conditions and distress during his childhood, which cast a dark shadow over the whole life of Johan Peter. In 1751 he started to study at the University of Uppsala and made such a progress in Natural history that it was observed by Linnaeus, who made him a teacher for Linnaeus' own son Carl.On Linnaeus' recommendation Falck was appointed Curator at the Natural History Cabinet in St Petersburg, Russia, belonging to the physician in ordinary of the Empress, the Cabinet Minister C F Kruse. Later in 1765 he was appointed botanices professor at collegium medicum and intendent of the Chemist's Garden in St Petersburg. A German-supported expedition started 1768 - with the well-known names of Pallas, Gmelin and Georgi as participants - in order to explore the up until then unknown Siberia. For more then five years the expedition went on and south-east Russia was crisscrossed and even parts of Siberia. Much collected material was sent to St Petersburg but also to Linnaeus. On the way back home Falck was deeply depressed and sick. To soften his depression and in order to cure himself he used big amounts of opium. In Kazan, situated in present Tataria, Falck got "an attack of his old spleen melacholia" and "left life with a pistol, on March 21, 1773". His research result was later posthumously edited in three German volumes Beyträge zur topographischen Kenntnis des Russischen Reichs (1785-1786).
15. Adam Afzelius (1750-1837)
|16. Daniel Carl Solander(1733-1782)
|They cast anchor and stayed
for three weeks at a small island at sea, and were not
able to get ashore, because they had to wait for a suitable
wind. Next part of the journey, the part Osaka-Kyoto, was much
interesting and the landscape offered striking views. But from
a botanic point of view, the journey was much disappointing.
But when Thunberg and his attendants came to the Hakone Mountains he
suddenly was allowed to leave the sedan-chair, and by foot he
climbed up and down the hilly slopes of the mountains. What a sight to
watch the well-trained Swede, followed closely by his
Japanese sweaty and painting escorting guards! Now finally,
he was able to collect a big number of Japanese plants. Also
his Japanese interpreters supported him in getting lots of
material. All collected items would later be presented in Flora
japonica (1784), all in the Latin language.
On April 27 the company with Thunberg arrived in the Shogun's City, Jedo. But the strangers had to wait another thee weeks for the audience. May 18, it took place. The three Europeans were dressed in their finest Dutch cloths, even the "false Dutchman" Thunberg. But only one of the guests was allowed to come before the Shogun, the one who was considered ambassador. And this audience lasted only for only some minute. The way back to Nagasaki gave better results for Thunberg ad he was not that carefully watched as earlier. A lot of plants and seeds were collected, which would later grow and flourish in Dutch and Swedish gardens.
In Dec 23, Thunberg again was onboard Stavenisse to return to Europe. On his way home de descended upon the coast of Java, where he stayed for six months. Even the inner parts of Java was visited by Thunberg. For the very first time Thunberg here was infected by malaria, but was fortunately cured by some extract of quinine.
On July 5, he proceeded from Java to Ceylon. He remained here for seven months and visited mostly coastal areas collecting plants and seeds.
In April 1778, he was back in Cape Town and continued his voyage to Europe by the ship Loo and on March 14, 1779, he stood again on Swedish soil in the sea-port of Ystad.
In 1784 Thunberg stepped into Linnaeus' shoes as a professor in Uppsala. By and by Thunberg was given the name "Linnaeus of Japan". Regarding to the field of entomology, a German physician and naturalist Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) later named a certain Japanese knight butterfly Papilio memnon thunbergi Siebold after Thunberg.
Thunberg passsed away on Tunaberg Aug 8, 1828. Since 1784 he was married to Brita Charlotta Ruda. Among other publications might be mentioned Flora capensis (1807-1813), and Resa uti Europa, Africa, Asia, förrättad åren 1770-79 (Travel to Europe, Africa, Asia, undertaken during 1770-1779), in four parts, translated into German, English and French.
|18. Anders Sparrman(1748-1820)
The voyages with Cook became so extensive that it is estimated they would comprehend about 60.000 nautical miles before they again cast anchor in Cape Town in 1775. Thunberg on the other hand, remained in Cape Town until 1775 and in March, the this year he went to Japan. (See biographical notes under Thunberg!)
In 1781 Sparrman became professor of Natural History and in 1790 he was appointed an assessor of Collegium medicum.
In 1787 an expedition to Senegal was made. The intention was to establish a Swedish colony - on behalf of the King Gustaf III - which would differ from earlier colonizers in their attitude to the primitive population. This act would be a protest against the existing slavery, which Sweden considered was unworthy, shameful and inhuman. There was no colony established, but the efforts resulted nevertheless in some good, as Sparrman several times was called as a witness to trials in London where his given evidence strengthened the anti-slavery movement. The natural history outcome of the Senegal adventure was unfortunately quite poor.
Sparrman passed away in Stockholm Aug 8, 1820. A lof of publications had left his hand for instance: Resa till Goda Hoppsudden, södra polkretsen och omkring jordklotet, samt omkring Hottentott- och Kafferlandet åren 1772-86, (Travels to Cape of Good Hope, South Polar Circle and around the earth, and around in the Hottentot's and Kaffer's lands during 1772-86)(2:a delen 1783-1818). Some edtions were illustrated.
The plant family Sparrmannia is named after Sparrman.
19. Johan Gustaf Wahlbom (1724-1808)
20. Peter Jonas Bergius (1730-1790)
21. Lars Montin (1723-1785)
Born in a clerical family in Lundby outside Göteborg. At first he came to Lund for studies, but later he went on to Uppsala where he started to study medicine. He travelled to alpine areas in Sweden in 1749. In 1750 he was conferred a doctor's degree on medicine. Thereupon he was working as a physician in the Gothenburg area for some years, later in the province of Halland.
In the 1800th Century the county medical officers were introduced. One of the tasks of the physicians at that time, was to become familiar with the medical herbs. In time, most physicians became skilled botanists. But Montin did not travel abroad - he remained within the borders of Sweden - and his work developed to become much similar to Linnaeus' own work. Through his numerous contacts and connections he maintained an extensive network.
Montin started to cooperate
with Pehr Osbeck
concerning the inventory of flora in the province of Halland, situated
on the west coast of Sweden. There were also
intense communications with Löfling,
Sparrman. Financially Montin supported especially Thunberg. As a token
of thanks, he had the favour and pleasure to investigate and
specify a number of plants collected by Thunberg and by other
disciples of Linnaeus.
Montin passed away unmarried in Halmstad, 1785.
22. Peter Hernquist (1726-1808)
Alfred Brehm: Djurens liv, Världslitteraturens Förlag, Malmö 1931
Berömda män, Stora gestalter genom tiderna, Reader´s Digest 1967
Encarta Encyclopedia Standard 2003
Gaedike, R. & Groll, E. eds. 2001 Entomologen der Welt (Biographien, Sammlungsverbleib). Datenbank, DEI Eberswalde im ZALF e.V.
Motýlkár Castelpul, author
Nationalencykolpedin 1998, Bokförlaget Bra böcker, 263 80 Höganäs
Göran Sjöberg, entomologist, consultant
Sörlin, Fagerstedt: Linné och hans apostlar, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, Örebro 2004.
Tuzov, Bogdanov, Devyatkin, Kaabak, Krolev, Murzin, Samodurov, Tarasov: Guide to the Butterflies of Russia and Adjacent Territories, Moscow 1997
Wallström: Svenska Upptäckare, Bra Böcker Höganäs 1983
Webster´s Interactive Encyclopedia 1996
Copyright © 2008 Göran Waldeck All rights reserved
Last updated Mars 30, 2008