Linnaeus’ apostles too wrote accounts of their travels.
This is the title page of Thunberg’s account of his journey
Already as a young student, Linnaeus had shown himself to be
an unusual and captivating speaker. As a professor he continued
to fascinate and inspire others through unconventional methods.
He often assembled his students for relaxed walks in nature in
the Uppsala area. It developed into a rewarding form of in-the-field
lectures which on occation attracted hundreds of students.
Linnaeus’ ideas in the world
Some students became extremely important to Linnaeus and for the spreading
of his system – he called them his “apostles”.
They were given the opportunity and the responsibility to pass
on Linnaeus’ ideas around the world on scientific expeditions
to other continents.
The main purpose was to gather plants, seeds and other living
organisms that could be included in his Systema Naturae. In the
spirit of Linnaeus, the apostles were also to be attentive to
everything they encountered on their journey and meticulously
report their observations.
Among the 17 apostles were Pehr Kalm, who travelled around North
America, Daniel Solander who travelled with Cook on his first
circumnavigation, Anders Sparrman who took part in Cook’s
second circumnavigation and Carl Peter Thunberg, who travelled
in southern Africa, Japan, Java and Ceylon – present-day
His apostles travelled further out in the world than practically
any other Swedes had done. They spread Linnaeus’ science
and in the spirit of Linnaeus and they collected plants and animals
from all over the world. In several cases, their names live on
in the countries they visited. Some of the apostles never returned
to Sweden, dying far from home on their travels. Their notes and
collected material were saved however.
His life and work
Traveller and writer
and the sexual system
Daniel Solander was one of Linnaeus’ apostles. He sailed
on the Endeavour with James Cook on his first circumnavigation.
Here he is depicted with Joseph Banks and Omai, a young man from
Tahiti who accompanied the expedition to England. Part of an oil
painting by W.J.S. Brown, copied from the original by William
Parry © KVA.