Banks, Sir Joseph 1743-1820

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Sir Joseph Banks was a wealthy landowner who for 42 years was President of the Royal Society of London. He has been called the "dictator of British Botany" during this period.

He was also a plant explorer, sailing with Captain Cook in the Endeavor at the age of 25. He returned after three years with a vast collection of plant specimens. Banks became the unpaid Director of Kew Gardens in 1772 by George III and continued in this position until his death in 1820.

As Director of Kew he sent out many collectors to bring back new plants for the gardens and the Herbarium. Fuchsia and hydrangea were introduced during this period. By many foreign scientists he was considered as the "greatest Englishman of his time."

Naturalist and Patron of Science