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Expedition to the Caribbean

N. J. F. von Jacquin
Did you know that… ?
  • ... the Caribbean expedition was so successful, that the results inspired Thaddäus Haenke, a young Czech botanist, to become (with endorsement from Jacquin) the botanist for the 1789 Malaspina expedition to South America?
  • ... Joseph von Jacquin was a professor of chemistry and metallurgy for six years in the mining academy in Banská Štiavnice?
  • ... Jacquin was instrumental in spreading the Linneaus’ system of binomial nomenclature in central Europe, and his writings from 1760 and 1763 rank among the first books that used this system?
  • ... seven years after the Caribbean expedition, Jacquin became the director of the beloved imperial Botanic Garden in Schönbrunn?
  • The expedition to the Caribbean departed from Italy in 1755 and returned in 1759.
  • Jacquin's teacher was Adriaan van Royen; he was acquainted with Jan F. Gronovi, Laurens Theodore and other famous botanists like Antoine and Bernard de Jussieu.
  • In IPNI, reference is made to Jacquin in 3,695 records.
  • Jacquin was an internationally known botanist, lived to be ninety and died in Vienna on October 26th, 1817.

At the suggestion of family friend Gerard von Swieten, the personal physician of Empress Maria Theresa, Jacquin left home to study in Vienna. He became enchanted with the botanical garden in Schönbrunn, where he several times met Francis I, the Holy Roman Emperor. When the emperor saw how the young Nicholas was enamoured of botany, he arranged to have Nicholas accompany a planned four-year expedition to the Caribbean, which was intended to supplant and expand the plant collection of the imperial garden in Schönbrunn. Early in 1755, the expedition set out from an Italian port. After a six-month journey, they anchored off the island of Martinique, and the talented Jacquin began his botanical research. They also examined other island in the Antilles chain; St. Vincent, Grenada, Aruba, St. Kitts and others. They even visited the coastal areas of Venezuela, Columbia, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. In 1759 they returned to Vienna. The expedition was very successful and ensured Jacquin's reputation, both among his peers and in the emperor's court. The plants Jacquin brought back enriched and beautified the botanical garden in Schönbrunn, which he loved and except, for a few years, cared for through the remainder of his life. Two plant genera were named in Jacquin's honour Jacquinia L., in the Theophrastaceae and Jacquiniella Schltr. In the Orchidaceae.Hisname is also commemorated in the species name of many plants,, for example, Crepis jacquinii, Juncus jacquinii, Oxytropis jacquinii and many others. Jacquin described many new species of plants.