Green treasures and paper floras: The business of Mutis in New Granada (1783-1808)

José Ramón Marcaida*, Juan Pimentel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the endeavours of José Celestino Mutis before and during his directorship of the Royal Botanical Expedition to the New Kingdom of Granada (1783-1816). Firstly, it will consider various aspects of Mutis' activities as a naturalist and entrepreneur, in particular his efforts to promote the identification and commercial exploitation of three natural products associated with the Viceroyalty of New Granada: quina, cinnamon, and tea. Secondly, the paper will focus on the complex dynamics of the expedition's artistic workshop, whose outcome was the monumental compilation of botanical illustrations known as the Flora de Bogotá. The overall aim is to offer a reflection on the challenges posed by the practices of accumulation and management in the context of a scientific expedition inspired by the new policies of the reformist movement in Spain and designed to make profit out of the nature of the New World and its knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-296
Number of pages20
JournalHistory of Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


  • Mimetic capital
  • Mutis
  • Natural history
  • New Granada
  • Quina
  • Scientific expedition


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