George Finlayson

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George Finlayson (1790–1823), was a Scottish naturalist and traveller. He was called one of the best naturalists of his day, and was noted for his pioneering studies of the plants, animals, and people of southern Thailand and the Malay peninsula.[1]

Finlayson was born at Thurso in 1790, was clerk to Dr. Somerville, chief of the army medical staff in Scotland,[2] and afterwards to Dr. Farrel, chief of the army medical staff in Ceylon. He was then transferred to Bengal, and attached to the 8th Light Dragoons as assistant-surgeon in 1819. In 1821-2 he accompanied the Crawfurd trade mission to Siam (now Thailand) and Cochin China (now Viet Nam) as naturalist,[3] returning with it to Calcutta in 1823. By this time his health was thoroughly broken. He died on the passage from Bengal to Scotland in August 1823.[4]

The journal which he had kept during the mission was edited, with a prefatory note on the author, by Sir Stamford Raffles, F.R.S., and published in 1826 under the title The Mission to Siam and Hue, the capital of Cochin China, in the years 1821-2, from the Journal of the late George Finlayson, Esq., [5][6]

The bird stripe-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni) is named in Finlayson's honour.[7]


  1. ^ [1]. Henry Ginsburg Thai art and culture: historic manuscripts from western collections. University of Hawaii Press, 2000 ISBN 0-8248-2367-2, page 13
  2. ^ "Review of New Books". The London literary gazette and journal of belles lettres, arts, sciences, etc. 17 December 1825. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Macfarlane, Charles (2001). Our Indian Empire: Its History and Present State, from the Earliest Settlement of the British in Hindostan, to the Close of the Year 1846: Volume 2. Adamant Media. p. 251. ISBN 0-543-92398-3. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Finlayson, George". The American Cyclopædia. 
  5. ^ Finlayson, George; Raffles, Thomas Stamford (2009). The Mission to Siam, and Hué, the Capital of Cochin China, in the Years 1821-2. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 1-115-94823-7. 
  6. ^ 'The Mystery of the Finlayson Map', in: Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, in: Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 3. Chiang Mai ,Cognoscenti Books, 2012. ASIN: B006IN1RNW
  7. ^ Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson, The eponym dictionary of mammals, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009, ISBN 0-8018-9304-6; p. 134
  8. ^ IPNI.  Finl. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Finlayson, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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