Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Peter Kalm


Kalm, Peter (1715-1779), botanist and author, was born in Sweden in 1715, and was educated at the universities of Abo and Upsala. He became a botanist of some distinction, and was a friend of Linnaeus. In 1748 he was sent by the Swedish government to North America, to make investigations into the natural history of the New World. He remained in North America for three years, and part of this time was spent in Canada. He was the first really scientific observer of natural phenomena in Canada. On his return to Sweden, he became professor of botany in the university of Abo ; and he died in 1779. He was the author of a number of scientific works; and he wrote an account of his Travels into North America, which was translated into English by John Reinhold Forster (3 vols., London, 1770; 2nd ed., 2 vols., 1772).

[For more elaborate and recent information on Kalm, consult his biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography site; those who have sufficient reading knowledge of French might consult Robert LAHAISE, «Voyage de Pehr Kalm au Canada en 1749», in Voix et Images, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1978, pp. 487-490; a French language edition entitled Voyage de Kalm en Amérique was translated and analysed by L. W. Marchand and was published in the Mémoires de la Société historique de Montréal, 1880 (Part 1) (Part 2)]

Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. III, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 396p., p. 319.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College