Georg Wilhelm Schimper
Wilhelm Schimper studied natural history in Munich, and for a short period of time worked with geologist Louis Agassiz as a draftsman and illustrator. In the 1830s he performed botanical research throughout northern Africa, publishing his findings in a book titled Reise nach Algier 1831-1832 ("Journey to Algiers 1831-1832"). In 1836 he settled in Ethiopia, and during his subsequent career had residences in Tigray and Semien provinces. For a period of time he was governor of Enticho, a district in Tigray, under the rule of Dejazmach Wube Haile Maryam. Dejazmach Wube had him marry Mirritsit, a woman from a prominent family in Adwa, who bore him several children. Although he was imprisoned at Magdala by Emperor Tewodros II, otherwise he suffered no serious losses during that unsettled time.
While in Ethiopia, he maintained correspondence with botanists in Europe, and made valuable contributions to natural history collections in Paris and Berlin, and was a collector for Unio Itineraria in Württemberg. During the years 1864 to 1868 he wrote an extensive report on his observations made in the course of his botanical trips through Tigray in Northern Ethiopia. The manuscripts came to the British Museum in 1870 and are now kept in the British Library. They are available online in the public domain.
Schimper died in Adwa.
His name is commemorated by the botanical genera Schimpera, Schimperella and Schimperina. The species epithet schimperiana is attached to a number of plants; a few examples being Habenaria schimperiana, Pyrrosia schimperiana, Festuca schimperiana and Kalanchoe schimperiana.
- This article is based on a translation of an article from the German Wikipedia.
- CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: R-Z by Umberto Quattrocchi
- Georg Wilhelm Schimper - in Abyssinia. Observations on Tigre – Online Edition at German Historical Institute London
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