Joseph Banks (1743-1820)

English botanist. Banks served as naturalist on the Endeavour expedition of Captain James Cook, paying for equipment and a large entourage of illustrators and scientists. Independently wealthy and at the top of the hierarchy of British science, Banks created a global network of botanical collectors including Mungo Park, helped to organize the Bounty expedition (under Captain Bligh) and the Investigator expedition, and established the first truly important botanical collections in Britain. Banks was the first scientist to serve as director of Kew Gardens, ran the Royal Society for decades, and founded the African Association (1788) and the London Horticultural Society (1804). Like most contemporaries, Banks dismissed the evolutionary speculations of Erasmus Darwin.

Banks, as drawn by Benjamin West. From Moyal, plate following p. 112.


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