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Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800$
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Daniela Bleichmar, Paula De Vos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753586

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753586.001.0001

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The Rare, the Singular, and the Extraordinary

The Rare, the Singular, and the Extraordinary

Natural History and the Collection of Curiosities in the Spanish Empire

(p.271) Chapter Fourteen The Rare, the Singular, and the Extraordinary
Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800

Paula de Vos

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the Spanish crown's interest in the collection of curiosities during the eighteenth century. With utilitarian goals in mind, the crown sent a series of orders to bureaucrats throughout the Spanish empire to collect rare natural history specimens and send them to Spain. This led to the collection of over 335 shipments of thousands of natural history specimens that were sent to Madrid over the course of more than seven decades, from 1745 to 1819. About 25 of the 335 shipments are labeled “curiosities” and consisted of naturalia or zoological, botanical, and mineral specimens; artificialia or fine art, exotica, and other items made by human hands; and preternalia or marvels of nature, namely monsters.

Keywords:   curiosities, natural history specimens, Spain, naturalia, artificialia, preternalia

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