Danger and Discovery
An 18th-Century Naturalist Delves Deep Into Wild Florida
The animals and birds of Florida seem exotic even today. What Northern visitor can fail to be curious about — and amazed by — alligators, gopher tortoises and the spectrum of bird life from tropical and temperate climates alike?
Now imagine a Northern visitor who is also a naturalist, arriving in Florida some 250 years ago. He would have felt as if he were exploring an uncharted jungle; and in many ways, he was.
Such a man was William Bartram. He traveled here during the 1770s, coming from Pennsylvania and trekking as far south as Sebastian.