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Month: March 2011

It’s Mark Catesby’s Birthday — or is it?

Mark Catesby, a little-known English naturalist, spent 12 years exploring Britain’s colonies in south-eastern North America in the early decades of the 18th century. The book that he published afterwards in London, The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-1747), was the first fully illustrated work on the flora and fauna of any part of our continent. In two large folio volumes, he included 220 full-page, hand-colored illustrations of hundreds of species of trees, flowers, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, and mammals, most of them the first view Europeans had of North-American plants and animals.