Nicolas Baudin
Nicolas-Thomas Baudin was a French
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...

 explorer, cartographer, naturalist and hydrographer.

Baudin was born a commoner in Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in southwestern France.It is one of the 10 communes located on the Île de Ré.-History:Saint-Martin-de-Ré has extensive fortifications, reflecting the strategic importance of the Île de Ré...

 on the Île de Ré
Île de Ré
Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle, on the northern side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait....

. At the age of fifteen he joined the merchant navy, and at twenty joined the French East India Company
French East India Company
The French East India Company was a commercial enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the British and Dutch East India companies in colonial India....

. He then joined the French navy and served in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 as an officer bleu during the American War of Independence.

In 1785 Baudin was captain of the Caroline taking Acadian
The Acadians are the descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia . Acadia was a colony of New France...

 settlers from Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 to New Orleans. In New Orleans he was contracted by local merchants to take a cargo of wood, salted meat, cod and flour to Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

, which he did in the Josephine (also called Pepita), departing New Orleans on 14 July 1786 and arriving at Ile de France (Mauritius) on 27 March 1787. In the course of the voyage, the Josephine had called at Cap Francais in Haiti to make a contract to transport slaves there from Madagascar; while there he also encountered the Austrian botanist Franz Josef Maerter, who apparently informed him that another Austrian botanist, Franz Boos
Franz Boos
]Franz Boos was an Austrian gardener-botanist in the Age of Enlightenment, a voyager and collector of natural history specimens for Emperor Joseph II of Austria, who reigned from 1765 to 1790....

, was at the Cape of Good Hope awaiting a ship to take him to Mauritius. The Josephine called at the Cape and took Boos on board. At Mauritius, Boos chartered Baudin to transport him and the collection of plant specimens he had gathered there and at the Cape back to Europe, which Baudin did, the Josephine arriving at Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 on 18 June 1788. The Imperial government was contemplating organizing another natural history expedition, to which Boos would be appointed, in which two ships would be sent to the Malabar and Coromandel coasts of India, the Persian Gulf, Bengal, Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Cochin China, Tongking, Japan and China. Baudin had been given reason to hope that he would be given command of the ships of this expedition.

Baudin subsequently in 1788 sailed on a commercial voyage from Trieste to Canton in the Jardiniere. He apparently arrived at Canton from Mauritius under the flag of the United States of America, probably to avoid the possibility of having his ship seized by the Chinese for payment of the debts owed them by the Imperial Asiatic Company of Trieste. From there, he sent the Jardiniere under her second captain on a fur trading venture to the North West Coast of America, but the ship foundered off Asuncion Island in the Mariannas in late 1789. Baudin made his way to Mauritius, where he purchased a replacement ship, the Jardiniere II, but this vessel was wrecked in a cyclone which struck Port Louis
Port Louis
-Economy:The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. It is the largest container handling facility in the Indian Ocean and can...

 on 15 December 1789. Baudin embarked on the Spanish Royal Philippines Company ship, Placeres, which sailed from Port Louis for Cadiz in August 1790. The Placeres called at the Cape of Good Hope where the large number of plant and animal specimens collected in South Africa for the Imperial palace at Schönbrunn
Schönbrunn may refer to:*Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria*Schönbrunn , a municipality in Rhein-Neckar , Baden-Württemberg, Germany*Schönbrunn , a village in the Fichtelgebirge mountains in Bavaria, Germany...

 by Georg Scholl
Georg Scholl
Georg Scholl was a gardener at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Germany. He was sent by Emperor Joseph II as assistant to gardener-botanist Franz Boos to collect specimens for the royal garden and cabinet on a collecting trip to the Cape of South Africa...

, the assistant of Franz Boos
Franz Boos
]Franz Boos was an Austrian gardener-botanist in the Age of Enlightenment, a voyager and collector of natural history specimens for Emperor Joseph II of Austria, who reigned from 1765 to 1790....

, was taken on board. Because of the poor condition of the ship, the voyage of the Placeres ended at the island of Trinidad, where Scholl's collection of specimens was deposited. Baudin proceeded to Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

, from where he addressed a offer to the Imperial government in Vienna to conduct to Canton commissioners who would be empowered to negotiate with the Chinese merchants there a settlement of the debts incurred by the Imperial Asiatic Company, which would enable the company to renew its trade with China. On its return voyage from Canton, the proposed expedition would call at the Cape of Good Hope to pick up Scholl and the remainder of his natural history collection for conveyance to Schönbrunn. After returning to Vienna in September 1791, Baudin continued to press his case for an expedition under the Imperial flag to the Indian Ocean and China, and in January 1792 he was granted a commission of captain in the Imperial navy for this purpose. A ship, called the Jardiniere, was acquired and the botanists, Franz Bredemeyer and Joseph van der Schot, appointed to the expedition. After delays caused by the outbreak of war between France and Austria, the Jardiniere departed from the Spanish port of Malaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

 on 1 October 1792. From the Cape of Good Hope the Jardiniere sailed across the Indian Ocean to the coast of New Holland (Australia) but two consecutive cyclones prevented the expedition from doing any work there and forced Baudin to take the ship to Bombay for repairs. From Bombay, the expedition proceeded to the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and East Coast of Africa, where botanical and zoological collections were gathered. The expedition came to an abrupt end in June 1794 when the Jardiniere went aground in a storm while attempting to enter Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope. Baudin survived the wreck and made his way to the United States, from whence he went to France. He managed to send the Jardiniere's cargo of natural history specimens to the island of Trinidad.

In Paris, Baudin visited Antoine de Jussieu
Antoine de Jussieu
Antoine de Jussieu was a French naturalist.Jussieu was born in Lyon, the son of Christophe de Jussieu , an apothecary of some repute, who published a Nouveau traité de la theriaque . Antoine studied at the university of Montpellier, and travelled with his brother Bernard through Spain, Portugal...

 at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Muséum national d'histoire naturelle
The Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle is the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France.- History :The museum was formally founded on 10 June 1793, during the French Revolution...

 in March 1796 to suggest a botanical voyage to the Caribbean, during which he would recover the collection of specimens he had left in Trinidad. The proposal was accepted by the Museum and French government, and Baudin was appointed commander of an expedition in the ship, the Belle Angelique, with four assigned botanists, René Maugé, André Pierre Ledru, Anselm Riedlé and Stanislas Livillain. The Belle Angelique cleared Le Havre on 30 September 1796 for the Canary Islands, where the ship was condemned as unseaworthy. The expedition sailed from the Canaries in a replacement vessel, the Fanny, and reached Trinidad in April 1797. The island had just been captured from the Spanish by the British, who refused to allow Baudin to recover his collection of natural history specimens. Baudin took the Fanny to St. Thomas
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Saint Thomas is an island in the Caribbean Sea and with the islands of Saint John, Saint Croix, and Water Island a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands , an unincorporated territory of the United States. Located on the island is the territorial capital and port of...

 and St. Croix, and then to Porto Rico, specimens being collected in all three islands. At St Croix, the Fanny was replaced by a newly purchased ship, which was re-named the Belle Angelique. The expedition returned to France in June 1798 with a large collection of plants, bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s and insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, which was incorporated into Napoleon Bonaparte's triumphal procession celebrating his recent Italian victories.

On 24 July 1798, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Marine, Baudin presented to the Assembly of Professors and Administrators of the National Museum of Natural History a plan for a hydrographic survey expedition to the South Seas, which would include a search for fauna and flora that could be brought back for cultivation in France. The expedition would also have the aim of promoting the economic and commercial interests of France in the regions to be visited. The expedition would require two well-equipped ships, which would carry a team of astronomers, naturalists and scientific draughtsmen over whom Baudin as commander would have absolute authority. The first part of the voyage would be devoted to a thorough exploration of the coast of Chile and the collection of animal, bird and plant specimens suitable for acclimatization in France, followed by a survey of the coasts from Peru to Mexico. The expedition would then continue into the Pacific Ocean, including a visit to Tahiti and the Society Islands, and would be completed with a survey of the yet unexplored south west coast of New Holland (Australia). After considering this extensive proposal, the French government decided to proceed with an expedition confined to a survey of western and southern New Holland (as Australia was called at the time).

In October 1800 he was selected to lead what has become known as the Baudin expedition
Baudin expedition of 1800 to 1802
The Baudin expedition of 1800 to 1803 was a French expedition to map the coast of Australia. Nicolas Baudin was selected as leader in October 1800...

 to map the coast of Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. He had two ships, Géographe
French corvette Géographe
The Géographe was a 20-gun Serpente class corvette of the French Navy.She was named Uranie in 1797, and renamed Galatée in 1799, still on her building site, as her builder refused to launched her, as he had not been paid...

and Naturaliste
French corvette Naturaliste
The Naturaliste was a Salamandre class bomb-corvette of the French Navy.She was launched in 1795 as La Menaçante. She was renamed to La Naturaliste in June 1800 and under Jacques Hamelin, she took part in the exploration of Australia of Nicolas Baudin.Following her return in 1802, she saw service...

captained by Hamelin, and was accompanied by nine zoologists and botanists, including Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour
Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour
Jean Baptiste Louis Claude Theodore Leschenault de la Tour was a French botanist and ornithologist.Leschenault de la Tour was chief botanist on Nicolas Baudin's expedition to Australia between 1800 and 1803...

. He reached Australia in May 1801, being the first to explore and map the western coast, and a part of the southern coast of the continent. The scientific expedition was a great success, with more than 2500 new species discovered.
The French also met Aboriginal Peoples and treated them with high respect.

In April 1802, he met Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders
Captain Matthew Flinders RN was one of the most successful navigators and cartographers of his age. In a career that spanned just over twenty years, he sailed with Captain William Bligh, circumnavigated Australia and encouraged the use of that name for the continent, which had previously been...

, also engaged in charting the coastline, in Encounter Bay
Encounter Bay
Encounter Bay is located on the south central coast of South Australia, some 100 km south of Adelaide, South Australia. It is named after the encounter on 8 April 1802 between Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin, both of whom were charting the Australian coastline for their respective countries...

. Baudin then stopped at the British colony at Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 for supplies. In Sydney he bought a new ship — Casuarina — named after the wood it was made from. From there he sent home Naturaliste, which had on board all of the specimens that had been discovered by Baudin and his crew. He then headed for Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, before continuing north to Timor
Timor is an island at the southern end of Maritime Southeast Asia, north of the Timor Sea. It is divided between the independent state of East Timor, and West Timor, belonging to the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara. The island's surface is 30,777 square kilometres...

. Two of his ships named Jardinière, were lost in shipwrecks, one in the Pacific and the other in Port Louis
Port Louis
-Economy:The economy is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. The port was founded by the French who preferred Port Louis as the City is shielded by the Port Louis/Moka mountain range. It is the largest container handling facility in the Indian Ocean and can...

 harbour during a hurricane.

Baudin then sailed for home, stopping at Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

, where he died of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...


A number of monuments have been established around Australia, including eight at various locations around Western Australia Baudin Beach on Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is Australia's third-largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island. It is southwest of Adelaide at the entrance of Gulf St Vincent. Its closest point to the mainland is off Cape Jervis, on the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula in the state of South Australia. The island is long...

, South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

 was named in his honour.

See also

  • Baudin expedition to Australia
  • European and American voyages of scientific exploration
    European and American voyages of scientific exploration
    The era of European and American voyages of scientific exploration followed the Age of Discovery and were inspired by a new confidence in science and reason that arose in the Age of Enlightenment...

Further reading

  • Bonnemains, J., Forsyth, E. and Smith, B. Baudin in Australian Waters: The Artwork of the French Voyage of Discovery to the Southern Lands 1800—1804 With a Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings and Paintings of Australian Subjects by C. –A. Lesueur and N.-M. Petit from the Lesueur Collection at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Le Havre, France Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1988.
  • Bonnemains, J., Argentin, J.-M. and Marin, M. (eds) Mon voyage aux Terres Australes: Journal personnel du commandant Baudin, Éditions Imprimerie Nationale, Paris, 2000.
  • Bouvier, R. & Maynial, E. Une Aventure dans les Mers Australes: L’Expédition du Commandant Baudin (1800—1803), Mercure de France, Paris, 1947.
  • Brown, A. J. Ill-starred Captains: Flinders and Baudin, Crawford House, Adelaide, 2000.
  • Cornel, C. (trans.) The Journal of Post Captain Nicolas Baudin, Adelaide, 1974.
  • Duyker, E. In Search of Madame Kerivel and Baudin’s Last Resting Place, National Library of Australia News, vol. IX, no. 12, September 1999, pp. 8–10.
  • Duyker, E. François Péron: An Impetuous Life: Naturalist and Voyager, Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2006, ISBN 978 0522 85260 8.
  • Fornasiero, Jean; Monteath, Peter and West-Sooby, John. Encountering Terra Australis: the Australian voyages of Nicholas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, Kent Town, South Australia, Wakefield Press, 2004. ISBN 1-86254-625-8
  • Horner, F. The French Reconnaissance: Baudin in Australia 1801—1803, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1987 ISBN 0522843395.
  • Jangoux, Michel. Portés par l'air du temps: les voyages du Capitaine Baudin, Bruxelles, Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 2010.
  • R.Kingston, A not so Pacific voyage: the ‘floating laboratory’ of Nicolas Baudin], Endeavour, vol. XXXI, no. 4, December 2007, pp. 145–151.
  • Ly-Tio-Fane, Madeleine. "A reconnaissance of tropical resources during Revolutionary years: the role of the Paris Museum d'Histoire Naturelle", Archives of Natural History, vol.18, 1991, pp.333–362.
  • Ly-Tio-Fane, Madeleine (1996). "Botanic gardens: connecting links in plant transfer between the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions", Harvard Papers in Botany, 8: 7–14.
  • Ly-Tio-Fane, Madeleine, Le Géographe et Le Naturaliste à L’Ile-de-France 1801, 1803, Ultime Escale du Captaine Baudin: Deuxième Partie, Le Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres australes, Collection Lesueur du Muséum d’histoire naturelle du Havre, Dossier 15: Catalogue établi Jacqueline Bonnemains commenté par Madeleine Ly-Tio-fane, MSM Limited, Port Louis [Mauritius], 2003.
  • Steve Reynolds, Nicolas Baudin's Scientific Expedition To The Terres Australes, Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc.
  • Plomley, B. The Baudin Expedition and the Tasmanian Aborigines 1802, Blubber Head Press, Hobart, 1983
  • Michèle Rivas, « Un navigateur-naturaliste d'origine poitevine célèbre en Australie, méconnu dans sa patrie: Nicolas Baudin (1754-1803)», Revue Historique du Centre-Ouest (Poitiers), tome V, 1er semestre 2006 pp. 73-112.
  • Toft, Klaus The Navigators - Flinders vs Baudin, Sydney, Duffy and Snellgrove, 2002. ISBN 1-876631-60-0
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