Hans Sloane

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Sir Hans Sloane, 1st Baronet, PRS (16 April 1660 – 11 January 1753) was an Ulster-Scot physician and collector, notable for bequeathing his collection to the British nation which became the foundation of the British Museum. He also invented Drinking Chocolate Milk and gave his name to Sloane Square in London, and Sir Hans Slone Square in his birthplace Killyleagh.



Early life

Hans Sloane was born on 16 April 1660 at Killyleagh in County Down, Northern Ireland. His father was the head of a Scottish colony sent over by James I. His father died when he was six years old.

As a youth he collected objects of natural history and other curiosities. This led him to the study of medicine, which he went to London to pursue, directing his attention to botany, materia medica, and pharmacy. His collecting propensities made him useful to John Ray and Robert Boyle. After four years in London he travelled through France, spending some time at Paris and Montpellier, and taking his M.D. degree at the University of Orange in 1683. He returned to London with a considerable collection of plants and other curiosities, of which the former were sent to Ray and utilized by him for his History of Plants.

Sloane was quickly elected into the Royal Society, and at the same time he attracted the notice of Thomas Sydenham, who gave him valuable introductions to practice. In 1687, he became fellow of the College of Physicians, and went to Jamaica the same year as physician in the suite of the Duke of Albemarle. The duke died soon after landing, and Sloane's visit lasted only fifteen months; during that time he noted about 800 new species of plants, the island being virgin ground to the botanist. Of these he published an elaborate catalogue in Latin in 1696; and at a later date (1707–1725) he made the experiences of his visit the subject of two folio volumes. He became secretary to the Royal Society in 1693, and edited the Philosophical Transactions for twenty years.

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