Contributions and Achievements:
Joseph Banks was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1766 and the same year he travelled aboard the frigate HMS Niger to Newfoundland and Labrador to study their natural history.
He joined Captain Cook on his 1763 expedition to the Pacific Ocean on the HMS Endeavour. He took an eight man team and a vast amount of equipment with him including a library of over 150 books, microscopes and telescopes. Included in the team was Dr. Solander, a friend of Banks, and a naturalist and artist Sydney Parkinson. The voyage lasted three years and they visited South America including Brazil, New Zealand, Tahiti and Australia collecting and drawing botanical specimens. By the end of the voyage Banks, Solander and two servants were he only survivors from the original nine men.
Banks produced over seven hundred copperplate engravings of Parkinson’s art, though it was not until the 1980’s that Banks’ “Florilegium” was fully published.
In 1772 Banks and Solander also toured Iceland and collected many botanical specimens.
Banks became the president of the Royal Society in 1777, where he remained until his death in 1820. He was known as a prominent endorser of travelers and scientific men. Many voyages of discovery were approved and carried out under his supervision. He was the first person to introduce the Western world to acacia, mimosa, eucalyptus and Banksia, a genus named after him. About 80 other species of plants were also named after him.
He also established the fact that marsupial mammals were more primitive than placental mammals.
Joseph Banks was knighted in 1781. He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1797. He was also appointed an associate of the Institute of France In 1802.
Two of his most famous publications include “Short Account of the Cause of the Disease in Corn called the Blight, the Mildew, and the Rust,” (1803) and “Circumstances relative to Merino Sheep” (1809).
Banks’s herbarium, considered one of the most important in existence, and his library, a major collection of works on natural history, are now at the British Museum. Banks’ Florilegium, a collection of engravings of plants compiled by Banks and based on drawings by Swedish botanist Daniel Solander during Cook’s 1768–71 voyage, was not published in full until 1989.
Sir Joseph Banks, in full Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, (born February 13, 1743, London, England—died June 19, 1820, Isleworth, London), British explorer, naturalist, and longtime president of the Royal Society, known for his promotion of science.
Banks was schooled at Harrow School and Eton College before attending Christ Church College, Oxford, from 1760 to 1763; he inherited a considerable fortune from his father in 1761. Banks then traveled extensively, collecting plant and natural history specimens in journeys to Newfoundland and Labrador (1766), around the world with Captain James Cook (1768–71), and to Iceland (1772).
Banks was interested in economic plants and their introduction into countries. He was the first to suggest (1805) the identity of the wheat rust and barberry fungus, and he was the first to show that marsupial mammals were more primitive than placental mammals. In his capacity as honorary director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (near London), he sent many botanical collectors to various countries. His house became a meeting place for the exchange of ideas. After he became president of the Royal Society (1778–1820), he improved the position of science in Britain and cultivated interchange with scientists of other nations; he was, however, accused by many fellow scientists of exercising excessive authority as president and even of being “despotic.” In 1781 he was made a baronet. The order of Knight Commander of the Bath was bestowed upon him in 1795, and two years later he was admitted to the Privy Council.
Early Life and Education:
Born in London on January 4, 1743 in a rich Lincolnshire family, Joseph Banks was the son of William Banks, a wealthy landowner. As a child he was very fond of fishing and other country pursuits. Joseph was educated at Harrow and then attended Eton College in 1756. He took admission in Christ Church, Oxford, in 1760. When he left the college in 1763, he had an extensive knowledge of natural history, particularly of botany.
At the age of 21 banks inherited the impressive estate of Revesby Abbey in Lincolnshire and was one of England’s wealthiest men with an income of £6,000 per year.
What happened to Joseph Banks?
What did Joseph Banks study?