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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Abstract

SCHUTTE, Gerrit. Letters of Hendrik le Sueur, J.A. van Plettenberg and Petrus Camper on the exploration of Africa. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2016, vol.56, n.2-2, pp.507-533. ISSN 2224-7912.  http://dx.doi.org/doi.10.17159/2224-7912/2016/v56n2-2a1.

After 1750, and especially in the 1770's, a boost was given to the exploration of Africa by a series of explorers, collecting specimens of natural products, research material for various scholars in Europe. In that context, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and its Cape Colony administrators had an important role as facilitators. Explorers got assistance, and rare plants, bulbs and animal were transported to Europe. A. Vosmaer, director of the zoo of Stadholder William V, and the Leiden professor Albinus published a series of studies of recently discovered African animals sent from the Cape, while the Groningen professor of medicine Petrus Camper was a specialist in dissecting animals, such as apes, rhino, ant-eater, hippo, elephant. Camper was very interested in the relationships between the human races and developed craniology. Both the Cape surgeon Hendrik le Sueur, a former student of Camper, and Governor Van Plettenberg, sent Camper information and research-materials. This article edits a letter of Van Plettenberg and a letter of thanks from Camper, and three letters of Le Sueur, one of which gives the case of the illness and cure of the secretary of the orphan's court J.H. Blankenberg. And a research note of Camper, describing the dissection of the head of a Gonnema lady sent by Le Sueur.

Keywords : Africa; VOC; Hendrik le Sueur; J.A. baron van Plettenberg; Petrus Camper; Gonnema Hottentot lady; explorations; scholarly contact; research; medicine; biology; race.

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