By Angela Perez-Mejia, Dick Cluster
Unravels the wealthy complexities of the colonial trip event.
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Extra resources for A Geography of Hard Times: Narratives About Travel to South America, 1780-1849 (Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture)
Finally, in 1782, the then-viceroy Caballero y Góngora came upon Mutis shut up in his house in El Sapo at work on a book about the flora of Bogotá. Infuriated by the news that other scientists, foreign ones, had been granted the right to visit the colonies, this viceroy wrote to Charles III criticizing his decision which “snatched from the Spaniards the legitimate pride and glory of their discoveries” (Gredilla 1982, 139). 8 MUTIS 23 The expedition officially began in 1783 with several draftsmen and plant collectors who moved to Mariquita where the collection, drawing, and scientific description of thousands of botanical and animal species was done.
Between 1766 and 1782, Mutis wrote in disorganized fashion and undertook various travels within the country, about which he maintained an erratic observation journal. Between 1783 and 1790 he wrote the largest part of his journal, which corresponds to the observations of the Royal Botanical Expedition of the New Kingdom of Granada. 10 But Mutis also wrote a parallel work containing his various scientific reports, which was not only much longer than the journal but also was organized in a different way and written in a different sort of language that emphasizes mathematical formulas, research results, and theoretical discussions.
The works of various members of the expedition were published in Caldas’s weekly, and its pages stoked the fires of Independence too. 9 However, the Diario de observaciones, almost two thousand pages written over the course of thirty years, does not communicate the revolutionary spirit that grew up in the workshops of the expedition. The pages written during the period of the uprisings reflect the fervor of a scientist lost in his work— and then comes the absolute silence of his last eighteen years.
A Geography of Hard Times: Narratives About Travel to South America, 1780-1849 (Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture) by Angela Perez-Mejia, Dick Cluster