Joseph Banks

Botanist and explorer Joseph Banks

Profession: Botanist and explorer

United Kingdom

Biography: A renowned naturalist and botanist, Banks first made a name for himself on a 1766 expedition to the territories of Newfoundland and Labrador, where he wrote the first descriptions of those areas' plant and animal life in Linnean taxonomy form.

Banks is best known for his role in Captain James Cook's first voyage between 1768 and 1771. During this voyage Banks helped accrue the first major collection of Australian fauna, as well as visiting other lands including New Zealand, then part of the 'Terra Australis Incognita' or unknown southern land.

After the voyage Banks returned to England where he advised George III on the creation of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Born: February 13, 1743
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Star Sign: Aquarius

Died: June 19, 1820 (aged 77)

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1779-03-23 Botanist Joseph Banks (36) weds Dorothea Hugessen

Historical Events

  • 1768-08-25 Captain James Cook departs from Plymouth, England, on his first voyage on board the Endeavour, bound for the Pacific Ocean
  • 1769-04-13 British ship Endeavour captained by James Cook, arrives in Matavia Bay, Tahiti, with botanist Joseph Banks on board
  • 1770-04-28 British Captain James Cook, aboard the Endeavour, lands at Botany Bay in Australia
  • 1771-07-12 The Endeavour captained by James Cook, with Joseph Banks aboard, returns from its first voyage to the Pacific after two years
  • 1800-03-20 Alessandro Volta reports his discovery of the electric battery in a letter to Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society of London

Biographies and Sources