Ten fun facts about Joseph Banks

Ten fun facts about Joseph Banks

1. Naturalist, Explorer & Science Pioneer

Joseph Banks was a renowned naturalist and explorer who made a lasting impact on the scientific community. In 1778, he was appointed president of the Royal Society, a prestigious scientific organization, and held the position for an impressive 41 years. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the advancement of science, particularly in the fields of botany and zoology. His legacy lives on today, with the Royal Society still honoring his memory and achievements.

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2. Explorer of the South Pacific

Joseph Banks was an influential figure in the exploration of the South Pacific, with his name being immortalised in several areas of the region. These include the Banks Strait, Banks Islands and the Sir Joseph Banks Group, all of which serve as a reminder of his important role in opening the South Pacific to European exploration.

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3. The portrait of a naturalist

The portrait of Joseph Banks, painted in 1814, is now a prominent feature of the Council Chamber of the Guildhall Museum. This painting, which captures the likeness of the renowned naturalist, is a reminder of his significant contributions to science and exploration. It is a fitting tribute to the man who, in 1768, sailed with Captain Cook on the HMS Endeavour and collected specimens from the South Pacific, which he later presented to the British Museum.

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4. Joseph Banks Returns to Uni After Smallpox

At the tender age of 17, Joseph Banks contracted smallpox and was forced to leave Eton College. However, he was determined to pursue his education and returned to the University of Oxford in 1760, where he was able to continue his studies and eventually become one of the most renowned naturalists of his time.

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5. The Man Who ID'd the Great Auk

Joseph Banks was an influential naturalist who made a significant contribution to the field of ornithology. During his lifetime, he identified 34 species of birds, one of which was the Great Auk. Unfortunately, this species became extinct in 1844, making it one of the first species to be wiped out due to human activity. Banks' identification of the Great Auk was a crucial step in understanding the species and its place in the natural world.

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6. Joseph Banks' Florilegium: Notable Diversity

Joseph Banks, an 18th century naturalist, is renowned for his extensive collection of illustrations known as "Banks' Florilegium". This collection contains almost 800 species of plants and animals, collected by Banks and his artist, Sydney Parkinson, during their voyage to the South Pacific in 1768. This remarkable collection of illustrations is a testament to the dedication and passion of Banks and Parkinson for the natural world.

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7. Famous British Scientist and Husband

Joseph Banks married and, along with his wife, moved to Soho, England, to live with his sister Sarah Banks. The area of Soho was known for its vibrant culture and nightlife, and Joseph and his wife were able to take advantage of the many attractions the area had to offer. Joseph and Sarah's sisterly bond was strengthened by their shared residence, and the couple enjoyed the lively atmosphere of their new home.

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8. English Naturalist Who Helped Explore Australia

Joseph Banks was a renowned English naturalist who is best known for his role in the exploration of Australia. He was also a great supporter of science and exploration, and helped finance William Smith's quest to create the first geological map of England. Smith's map was a major breakthrough in the field of geology, and Banks' financial support was instrumental in making it a reality.

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9. The Man Who Gave Us Banksia

Joseph Banks was an 18th century British naturalist who made a lasting impact on the world of botany. He is best known for his extensive exploration of the flora of Australia, and for his role in the founding of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. His legacy lives on in the form of the genus of flowers called Banksia, which was named in his honour. Banksia species are found in Australia, New Guinea, and the islands of the South Pacific, and are known for their distinctive flower spikes and fruiting "cones".

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10. Honorary Founding Member

Despite the fact that Joseph Banks had lost the use of his legs in 1808, he was still honored with the title of honorary founding member of the Wernerian Natural History Society of Edinburgh. This esteemed society was founded in 1808 and was dedicated to the study of natural history, with a particular focus on the geology and botany of Scotland. Joseph Banks was a renowned naturalist and explorer, and his appointment to the Wernerian Natural History Society of Edinburgh was a testament to his dedication to the field of natural history.

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An English naturalist and botanist.