Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

Birth : (1783-10-22)October 22, 1783 Galata,Constantinople,Ottoman Empire

Death : September 18, 1840(1840-09-18)(aged 56) Philadelphia, United States

Personal Information

Name Constantine Samuel Rafinesque
Birth (1783-10-22)October 22, 1783 Galata,Constantinople,Ottoman Empire
Birth Place Galata,Constantinople,Ottoman Empire
Death (1840-09-18)(aged 56) Philadelphia, United States
Died At Philadelphia, United States
Nationality French
Fields biologist

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Events Occured in Scienctist Life


Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz (October 22, 1783 – September 18, 1840) was a French 19th-century polymath born near Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire and self-educated in France.


He traveled as a young man in the United States, ultimately settling in Ohio in 1815, where he made notable contributions to botany, zoology, and the study of prehistoric earthworks in North America.


Rafinesque was born on October 22, 1783, in Galata, a suburb of Constantinople.


His father died in Philadelphia about 1793.


In 1802, at the age of 19, Rafinesque sailed to Philadelphia in the United States with his younger brother.


In 1805, Rafinesque returned to Europe with his collection of botanical specimens, and settled in Palermo, Sicily, where he learned Italian.


He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1808.


After their son died in 1815, he left her and returned to the United States.


In 1817, his book Florula Ludoviciana or A Flora of the State of Louisiana was strongly criticized by fellow botanists, which caused his writings to be ignored.


By 1818, he had collected and named more than 250 new species of plants and animals.


In the summer of 1818, in Henderson, Kentucky, Rafinesque made the acquaintance of fellow naturalist John James Audubon, and in fact stayed in Audubon's home for some three weeks.


In 1819, Rafinesque became professor of botany at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he also gave private lessons in French, Italian, and Spanish.


In the spring of 1826, he left the university after quarreling with its president.


Rafinesque died of stomach and liver cancer in Philadelphia on September 18, 1840.


In March 1924, what were thought to be his remains were transported to Transylvania University and reinterred in a tomb under a stone inscribed, "Honor to whom honor is overdue."


In a letter in 1832, Rafinesque wrote:


In the third edition of On the Origin of Species published in 1861, Charles Darwin added a Historical Sketch that acknowledged the ideas of Rafinesque.


Rafinesque's evolutionary theory appears in a two-page article in the 1833 spring issue of the Atlantic Journal and Friend of Knowledge (a journal founded by himself).


In 1836, Rafinesque published his first volume of The American Nations.


For over a century after Rafinesque's publication, the Walam Olum was widely accepted by ethnohistorians as authentically Native American in origin, but as early as 1849, when the document was republished by Ephraim G. Squier, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an ethnologist who had worked extensively in Michigan and related territories, wrote to Squier saying that he believed the document might be fraudulent.


In the 1950s, the Indiana Historical Society published a "retranslation" of the Walam Olum, as "a worthy subject for students of aboriginal culture".


Since the late 20th century, studies especially since the 1980s in linguistic, ethnohistorical, archaeological, and textual analyses suggest that the Walam Olum account was largely or entirely a fabrication.


Clifford died suddenly in 1820, ending his contributions.


All sites in Kentucky that were included by E. G. Squier and Davis in their notable Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (1848), completed for the Smithsonian Institution, were first identified by Rafinesque in his manuscripts.


In 1832, he was the first to partly decipher ancient Maya.


By 1820 he was virtually an outcast in the scientific community as all the important publications rejected his submissions.


In 1841, Thomas Nuttall named a new genus Rafinesquia after Rafinesque.


In 1892, James Hall and J. M. Clarke proposed the genus name Rafinesquina in honor of Rafinesque for a number of fossil brachiopod species then belonging to genus Leptaena; the genus is now in the family Rafinesquinidae.


In popular culture John Jeremiah Sullivan's essay La-Hwi-Ne-Ski: Career of an Eccentric Naturalist, which appears in his 2011 collection, Pulphead, chronicles the life and times of Rafinesque.