This Day in History: 1665-05-12

Albertus Seba (1665 – 1736) was born on this day.
He was a Dutch pharmacist, zoologist, and collector of natural history objects. Seba opened a pharmacy near the harbour in Amsterdam c. 1700, his collection came about when he asked sailors and ship’s doctors to bring him exotic plants and animal products for use in the preparation of drugs. With objects gathered from all over the world it built to become the most well-known cabinet of curiousities of the time; a four volume illustrated catalogue of the collection was published, Locupletissimi Rerum Naturalium Thesauri accurata descriptio… (1734-65), from which many species were later described. Linnaeus, who had visited him in 1735, used several animals from Seba’s collection as type specimens. Seba sold his first collection in 1716 to tsar Peter the Great of Russia, but started a new collection after this date.

Seba is honoured in the names of a number of species under sebae.