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Carl Peter Thunberg

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Carl Peter Thunberg

*  1743 Jönköping
† 1828 Thunaberg


Carl Peter Thunberg was born on November 11, 1743, in Jönköping, Sweden. He studied medicine and natural philosophy under Carl Linne at the University of Uppsala. In 1767, he defended his doctoral dissertation entitled "De venis resorbentibus." In 1770, he traveled Paris, Amsterdam, and Leiden to continue his studies. On the recommendation of Carl Linne, Johannes Burmann offered Thunberg the chance to visit the Dutch colonies and Japan, to gather plants for the botanical garden. In April 1772, he reached Capetown, where he braved many dangers in order to complete his task of collecting plant samples. During a research stop in 1772, he received his doctorate in medicine. Continuing on his way to Java in 1775, he spent two months visiting Batavia, Samarang, and Buitenzorg. Thunberg then went on to Japan. In that same year, he arrived at the Dutch East India Company in Deshima, an artificial island in the Bay of Nagasaki, where he worked as a surgeon until 1776. After short stays in Java, Colomb, Ceylon, and Capetown, he arrived in Amsterdam in 1778. Before finally returning to his homeland, he visited London, where he made the acquaintance of Joseph Banks, visited the collection of Japanese plants of the German natural scientist Engelbert Kaempfer, and met Johann Reinhold Foster. He arrived back in Sweden in 1779. After working as a lecturer for botany, Thunberg was appointed professor for medicine and natural philosophy at his home university in Uppsala in 1784. He stayed at the university until his death on August 8, 1828, in Thunaberg near Uppsala.