10 “Devilish fellows who test patience to the very limit”: Naturalists in the Pacific in the Age of Cook

In: Naturalists in the Field
Glyn Williams
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The last forty years of the eighteenth century saw a surge of geographical discovery in the Pacific. Expeditions from several European countries mapped a myriad of islands in the vast ocean, while naturalists on the discovery vessels collected an overwhelming bounty of flora and fauna. Their lot was not an easy one, for both on board ship and ashore danger alternated with boredom and discomfort; quarrels with the ships’ officers, who had very different priorities, were frequent. Nor did these difficulties end upon the naturalists’ returning home, where their specimens were often neglected and recognition for years of work proved elusive.

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Naturalists in the Field

Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century

Series:  Emergence of Natural History, Volume: 2


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