Georg Joseph Kamel

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Georg Joseph Kamel
Born 21 April 1661
Brno, Moravia
Died 2 May 1706
Philippines
Fields botany

Georg Joseph Kamel (21 April 1661, Brno, Moravia, now Czech Republic – 2 May 1706, Manila, Philippines), also known as Camellus, was a Czech Jesuit missionary and botanist to the Philippines.[1] He is the author of the first descriptions of the Philippine flora and fauna (and especially birds).[2] Also the first depiction of Philippine tarsier comes from Kamel. He was also the founder of the first Philippine Botanical Garden (known to be located somewhere in St. Ignatius Monastery in Old Manila) and first Philippine farmacy from where he treated a large population of the Luzon island. The well known genus of flowering plants Camellia was named in his honour by Carolus Linnaeus.

Life[edit]

Kamel was originally from Moravia, part of the Crown of Bohemia then within the Habsburg Empire. He became a Jesuit in 1682. He was sent first to the Marianas in 1683, then he transferred to the Philippines in 1688. Kamel established a pharmacy in Manila, the first in the Philippines, where poor people were supplied with remedies for free.

The results of his botanizing, largely of plants already established in the gardens of Chinese at Manila, many of which he sent to London, to the leading British botanist, Rev. John Ray, and the apothecary-botanist James Petiver, was his Herbarium aliarumque stirpium in insula Luzone Philippinarum ("Herbs and Medicinal Plants in the island of Luzon, Philippines"), the first description of Philippine flora ever. Kamel also led correspondence with the Dutch physician Willem Ten Rhijne and exchanged plants with botanists in London, Madras and Batavia.

His first shipment of botanical drawings fell into the hands of pirates and was lost. Parts of this work on oriental plants were published as a 96-page appendix in John Ray's third volume of Historia plantarum; species hactenus editas insuper multas noviter inventas & descriptas complectens (1703), and in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Petiver published a third section devoted to climbers.

Among others, Kamel was also the first person to describe the now well known Bean Of St. Ignatius (Strychnos ignatia), used in homeopathy and to extract the poisonous strychnine from its fruit. He named it for Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Kamel's Jesuit missionary order. The plant is known in the Philippines under the names of aguwason (in Tagalog).

Kamel was also interested in birds and wrote this first account of the birds of the Philippines, „Observationes de Avibus Philippensibus“, published in 1702 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.[3]

Kamel's Work[edit]

Large part of his work on the Philippines has not been worked on or published yet. Kamel's notes are now deposited mostly in the British Museum in London, then 260 drawings of medicinal plants, animals and minerals of the Philippines can be found in the archive of the Theological Faculty in Leuven, Belgium. Copies of some of his texts and drawings can be found in his birthplace in Brno, the Czech Republic. Among his publications were:

  • „Herbarium aliarumque stirpium in insula Luzone Pilippinarum primaria nascentium Syllabus” or "Overview of plants and shrubs growing on Luzon" published in 1697-1698 became known as the first description of Philippine flora ever. This was Kamel's largest work.[4]
  • „Hortus indicus“
  • „Descriptiones fructicum et arborum Luzonis… “
  • „Observationes de Avibus Philippensibus“ - the first account of the birds of the Philippines, published in 1702 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society[5]

Known Works Overview[edit]

Published in Historia plantarum of John Ray
  • Herbarium aliarumque stirpium in Insulâ Luzone Philippinarum Primariâ nascentium. In: John Ray: Historia plantarum. Band 3, London 1704, Anhang, S. 1–42 (online).
  • Descriptiones fruticum & arborum Luzonis, a Revdo. In: John Ray: Historia plantarum. Band 3, London 1704, Anhang, S. 43–96 (online)
Published in Philosophical Transactions by the British Royal Society
  • A Description and Figure of the True Amomum, or Tugus. Sent from the Reverend Father George Camelli, at the Phillipine Isles, to Mr. John Ray and Mr. James Petiver, Fellows of the Royal Society. Band 21, Nummer 248, 1699, S. 2–4 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1699.0002).
  • An Account of the Vertues of Faba Sti Ignatii, Mentioned Last Transaction. Band 21, Nummer 250, 1699, S. 87 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1699.0018).
  • A Further and More Exact Account of the Same, Sent in a Letter from Father Camelli, to Mr. John Ray, and Mr. James Petiver, Fellows of the Royal Society. Band 21, Nummer 250, 1699, S. 88–94 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1699.0019).
  • An Account of Mr. Sam. Brown His Sixth Book of East India Plants, with Their Names, Vertues, Description, etc. By James Petiver, Apothecary, and Fellow of the Royal Society. To These are Added Some Animals, etc. Which the Reverend Father George Joseph Camel, Very Lately Sent Him from the Philippine Isles. In: Philosophical Transactions. Band 23, Nummer 277, 1702, S. 1055–1068 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1702.0003).
  • Georgij Josephi Cameli Observationes de Avibus Philippensibus; Communicatae a Jacobo Petiver. S. R. S. Band 23, Nummer 285, 1702 S. 1394–1399 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1702.0051).
  • A Description of Some Coralls, and Other Curious Submarines Lately Sent to James Petiver, Apothecary and Fellow of the Royal Society, from the Philippine Isles by the Reverend George Joseph Camel; As Also an Account of Some Plants from Chusan an Island on the Coast of China; Collected by Mr James Cuninghame, Chyrurgeon & F.R.S. Band 23, Nummer 286, 1702, S. 1419–1429 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1702.0056).
  • Tractatulus de Ambaro, a Reverendo D. D. G. J. Camello, Communicatus D. Jacobo Petiverio Societatis Regiae Socio. Band 24, Nummer 291, 1704, S. 1591–1596 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1704.0017).
  • R. P. Georg. Jos. Camel. Tractatus de Plantis Philippensibus Scandentibus, ad Jacobum Petiver, S. R. S. Missus. Band 24, Nummer 293, 1704, S. 1707–1722 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1704.0034).
  • Georg. Joseph. Camel. De Plantis Philippen-Sibus Scandentibus; Pars 2da. Ad Jacobum Petiver, S. R. S. Nuper Transmissa. Band 24, Nummer 294, 1704, S. 1763–1773 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1704.0042).
  • Georg. Joseph. Camel. de Plantis Philippensibus Scandentibus; Pars Tertia. Ad Jacobum Petiver, S. R. S. Nuper Transmissa. Band 24, Nummer 295, 1704, S. 1809 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1704.0053).
  • R. P. Geo. Jos. Camelli, De Plantis Philippen-Sibus Scandentibus, Pars Quarta. Ad D. Jacobum Petiver, S. R. S. Nuper Transmissa. Band 24, Nummer 296, 1704, S. 1816–1842 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1704.0055).
  • De Piscibus, Moluscis & Crustaceis Philippensibus, Ex MSS. R. P. Geo. Jos. Camelli ad D. Jacobum Petiver, S. R. S. Transmissis. Band 24, Nummer 301, 1704, S. 2043–2080 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1704.0084).
  • De Quadrupedibus Philippensibus Tractat. a Reverendo Georg. Jos. Camel. Transmissus Jacobo Petiver, Pharmacop. & Societ. Regiae Soc. Londini. Band 25, Nummer 305, 1706, S. 2197–2204 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1706.0002).
  • De Monstris, Quasi Monstris & Monstrosis; Item de Serpentibus, etc. Philippensibus, ex MS. R. P. Geo. Jos. Camelli. Communicavit D. Jac. Petiver. Pharmacop. Lond. & S. R. S. Band 25, Nummer 307, 1706, S. 2266–2276 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1706.0019).
  • De Conchy Liss Turbinatis, Bivalvibus & Univalvibus, Item de Mineralibus, Fossilibus, & Thermis Phillippensibus, ex M S S. R. P. Geo. Jos. Kamel. Communicavit D. Jacobus Petiver, Pharmacop. Londin. & Soc. Reg. S. Band 25, Nummer 311, 1706, S. 2397–2408 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1706.0043).
  • De Variis Animalibus Philippensibus, ex MSS. R. P. Geo. Jos Camelli. Communicavit D. Jac. Petiver, S. R. S. Band 26, Nummer 318, 1708, S. 241–248 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1708.0037).
  • De Araneis & Scarabaeis Philippensibus. Ex MSS. R. P. Geo. Jos. Camelli. Communicavit Jacobus Petiver, S. R. S. Band 27, Nummer 331, 1711, S. 310–315 (DOI:10.1098/rstl.1710.0025).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reyes, Raquel A G (Oct 2009). "Botany and zoology in the late seventeenth-century Philippines: the work of Georg Josef Camel SJ (1661–1706)". Arch Nat Hist (England) 36 (2): 262–76. ISSN 0260-9541. PMID 20014508. 
  2. ^ http://www.philippineplants.org/History.html A History of Philippine Botanical Exploration
  3. ^ Transactions, 23 (1702:1394–1399).
  4. ^ http://www.philippineplants.org/History.html A History of Philippine Botanical Exploration
  5. ^ Transactions, 23 (1702:1394–1399).
  6. ^ "Author Query for 'Kamel'". International Plant Names Index. 

Literature[edit]

  • Donko, Yan: The Philippines in Chinese Paintings – Depicted by an Austro-Chinese Artist: Exhibition Catalogue. National Museum of the Philippines – Manila 2012, published by epubli.de, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-384422376-7. (with an article on Georg Joseph Kamel pp. 80–86)
  • Donko, Wilhelm: The Lady of the Camellias and the Philippines, "The Philippine Star", February 5, 2012 http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=774371

External links[edit]