The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Bonpland, Aimé

BONPLAND, Aimé, a French traveller and naturalist, born at La Rochelle, Aug. 22, 1773, died in Uruguay in May, 1858. He studied medicine, and served as a surgeon in the navy during the French revolution. He afterward pursued scientific studies with Humboldt at Paris, and accompanied that naturalist on his travels in Mexico and South America. They were absent five years, and on their return in 1804 Bonpland presented his collection of plants, numbering 6,000, to the museum of natural history. Napoleon gave him a pension, and the empress placed him in charge of her gardens at Malmaison. While in this position he published descriptions of the plants which he had collected, with illustrations. After the fall of the emperor he embarked again for South America, landing in Buenos Ayres in 1816 with a large collection of European plants and seeds. He was made professor of natural history in that city, and remained there five years. He then set out to carry on new explorations among the Andes, but was intercepted by Dr. Francia, the dictator of Paraguay, and detained for nearly ten years, during which time he was compelled to act as physician to a garrison. On his release in 1831 he retired to a plantation near San Borja on the southern boundary of Brazil, where he married an Indian woman and devoted himself to cultivating Paraguay tea. In 1853 he removed to a larger estate at Santa Anna, where he raised orange trees. During all this time he made collections of plants and wrote descriptions of them, which he intended to take to the museum at Paris, had he not been prevented by death. His most important contribution to Humboldt's Voyage des régions équinoxiales is Nova Genera et Species Plantarum, edited by O. S. Kunth (7 vols. fol., 1815-'25). His biography has been written by Adolphe Brunel (Paris, 1872).