1.101 Painting of waterfall from Clarke Abel_s book
1.101 Painting of waterfall from Clarke Abel_s book

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1.401 Sub section C Map
1.401 Sub section C Map

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1.601 Painting of Camellia Hongkongensis by Eyre and the notes_
1.601 Painting of Camellia Hongkongensis by Eyre and the notes_

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1.101 Painting of waterfall from Clarke Abel_s book
1.101 Painting of waterfall from Clarke Abel_s book

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In the early 19th century, military and merchant vessels from Europe carried with them naturalists to Hong Kong. Beginning with rocks and ferns, these naturalists observed, collected, and depicted everything they found, gradually laying the foundations of Hong Kong’s natural history. At the same time, these records constituted the first impressions of Hong Kong by the West. "Every part of Hong Kong that I was able to visit, is remarkably barren," noted Clarke Abel, who set foot on Hong Kong Island in 1816.

"But however unfavourable may be the aspect," wrote the naturalist Berthold Seemann in Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Herald, "on a closer inspection, the botanist discovers a rich flora, full of new genera and species, although the labours of Hinds, Fortune, Hance, and Champion* have already bought forward such treasures. Indeed, it is estimated that Hong-Kong, small as it is, produces about a thousand species, and probably many more… For nearly every nook and valley has its peculiar vegetation...”

In 1853 when Seemann left his remarks, Hong Kong already transformed from "a barren rock”** to an island of "rich flora". These memorable remarks now serve as footnotes to Hong Kong’s rich natural history.*British naturalists who visited Hong Kong in the early to mid-19th century.


*British naturalists who visited Hong Kong in the early to mid-19th century.

**In 1840, British Foreign Secretary Palmerston commented that the landscape of Hong Kong Island wasas “a barren rock with nary a house upon it”. 

 

1816    
British surgeon Clarke Abel travels with the Amherst embassy to China. He goes ashore to collect plants and rocks on Hong Kong Island. Unfortunately, all specimens are lost on his return journey. 


1818
Publication of Narrative of a Journey in the Interior of China, and of a Voyage to and from that Country, in the Years 1816-1817, by Clarke Abel.

1819
Publication of the Jiaqing edition of Gazetteer of Xin’an County, Qing dynasty, compiled by Wang Chongxi, edited by Shu Maoguan.

1831
 Prussian naval surgeon Franz Meyen accompanies the merchant vessel Prinzess Luise to China, during which he goes ashore for two weeks on Lantau Island to collect specimens.

1841
The British’s HMS Sulphur occupies Hong Kong Island during the First Opium War. The naval surgeon Richard Hinds collects nearly 140 species of plant specimens on the island, 21 of which are new species.

1842
Hong Kong Island is ceded under the Treaty of Nanking between Britain and China.

1849
Lieutenant Colonel John Eyre discovers Hong Kong Camellia.

1861
Publication of Flora Hongkongensis by George Bentham, which includes 1,056 species of Hong Kong plants.

人物一 - 克拉克亞卑路.jpg

Clarke Abel 

Describing First Impressions of Hong Kong

人物二 - 約翰艾爾.jpg

John Eyre 

Painting Hong Kong’s Plants

sub section C anchor.jpg

The Voyage

of Naturalists

 

1.601 Painting of Camellia Hongkongensis by Eyre and the notes_.png

Hong Kong

Camellia


Eyre’s discovery and the records by other naturalists

 1.501 His journey map from Abel Clarke_s book (another map).jpg

Writing

between

Cultures