Felipe Poey


Poey was born in Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, the son of French and Spanish parents. He spent several years (1804 to 1807) of his life in Pau then studied law in Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

. He became a lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 but was forced to leave due to his liberal ideas, returning to Cuba in 1823. He began to concentrate on the study of the natural science and travelled to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1825 with his wife. He began writing on the butterflies of Cuba and acquiring knowledge on fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, later supplying Georges Cuvier
Georges Cuvier
Georges Chrétien Léopold Dagobert Cuvier or Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier , known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist...

 and Valenciennes
Achille Valenciennes
Achille Valenciennes was a French zoologist.Valenciennes was born in Paris, and studied under Georges Cuvier. Valenciennes' study of parasitic worms in humans made an important contribution to the study of parasitology...

 with fish specimens from Cuba. He took part in the foundation, in 1832, of the Société Entomologique de France
Société entomologique de France
The Société entomologique de France, or French Entomological Society, is devoted to the study of insects. It was founded in 1832.The society was created by eighteen Parisian entomologists on January 31, 1832...


Poey returned to Cuba in 1833 where he founded the Museum of Natural History in 1839. In 1842 he became the first professor of zoology and comparative anatomy
Comparative anatomy
Comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy of organisms. It is closely related to evolutionary biology and phylogeny .-Description:...

 at the University of Havana
University of Havana
The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba. Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas...

. He also took part in the creation of the Academy of Science (natural, physical and medical) of Havana and was a president of the anthropological Society.


  • Centurie de Lepidoptere de L'Ile de Cuba (Paris, 1832)
  • Compilation of Geography of the Island of Cuba (1836).
  • Memories on the Natural History of the Island of Cuba (1851 et 1856-1858).
  • Historia Natural de la Isla de Cuba (2 vols., 1860)
  • Poissons de l'île de Cuba (1874).
  • Ictiología Cubana, a 20-volume work on the fishes of Cuba
  • Enumeratio piscium Cubensium (1875-1876).


Cuba commemorated the 175 birthday of Poey’s birth by a series of six stamps and a stamp sheet in 1974. This same country celebrated the 200th anniversary birthday of his birth by the emission of a series of four illustrated fish stamps in 1999.

External links

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