Depicting the Invisible

Mai 10, 2018 | Artigos, Publicações

Depicting the Invisible: Welwitsch’s Map of Travellers in Africa

  • Sara Albuquerque & Silvia Figueirôa
  • 2018
  • Earth Sciences History
  • Volume 37, Número 1
  • 109-129
  • Idioma: Inglês
  • DOI: 10.17704/1944-6178-37.1.109
  • ISSN: 0736-623X / 1944-6187 (online)

This paper addresses a nineteenth century African manuscript map which has hitherto remained ‘invisible’. This manuscript was produced by Friedrich Welwitsch (1806–1872), an Austrian botanist in the service of the Portuguese government, and held by the National Museum of Natural History and Science, University of Lisbon Museums/Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Museus da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal (MUHNAC). This historical document contains names of several travellers, many of them ‘invisible’ explorers, located in different parts of the African continent, depicting the relationships in both a visual and geographical way with notes and relevant historical observations. Welwitsch, as so many contemporary fellow botanists, was in contact with many scientists, exchanging not only correspondence but knowledge and collections. This map is a key document, a true hub of Welwitsch’s network of knowledge in which the scientific networks, the types of actors, interactions, methodologies and practices of botany are revealed, providing insights into the botanical exchanges that contributed to the making of Welwitsch’s African collections.

Africa, botany, Friedrich Welwitsch, Iter Angolense, manuscript map

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