This Day In History: 1660-04-16


Hans Sloane (1660 – 1753) was born on this day.
He was an Irish born British physician, naturalist and collector, best known for his role in helping to establish the British Museum. President of the Royal College of Physicians, later president of the Royal Society succeeding Sir Isaac Newton. Collected and catalogued around 800 new species of plants in Jamaica during a fifteen month visit (1687-88), later published an account of his stay as A Voyage to Jamaica (1707-25). Sloane built up a large collection, over 71,000 items, comprising natural history objects, manuscripts, prints, drawings, etc. which he bequeathed to the nation, on condition that parliament should pay his executors £20,000 (far less than the value of the collection), subsequently forming the basis of the British Museum opened to the public in 1759.

Sloane is honoured in the names of a number of species under sloani(i), sloanei, and sloaniana.