Description of Different Pieces of Natural History

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Illustrated rustic ISBN: 9788499535456 Hardcover ISBN: 9788411260954

The Description of Different Pieces of Natural History (Descripción de diferentes piezas de historia natural), is the first scientific work that was published in Cuba, appeared. It was published by Antonio Parra in 1787. It was the result of a decades-long effort. With only sixteen years Manuel Antonio Parra, son of Parra, was in charge of the engravings and coloring of the book that consecrated the Parra as printers and authors.
Felipe Poey classified and studied Parra’s fish. He also dedicated the scientific names of some of them to him, giving him the merit of being the first to describe them.
Parra dissected many of the specimens that appear in his book. He followed a method invented by him, and formed a cabinet of curiosities in his house in Havana, very crowded by all kinds of curious people.
It is speculated that José Antonio Aponte was the cabinetmaker who made the furniture in which the Parra collection was exhibited. This, in addition to the stuffed animals, had live specimens, such as monkeys and alligators.
Informed by one of the royal orders that the Cabinet of Natural History of Madrid was interested in the collection and acquisition of natural specimens from Spain and its colonies, Parra contacted José Clavijo y Fajardo. He directed this cabinet and was enthusiastic about Parra’s works, encouraging him to expand his collection and proposed to the king that he buy them.
In 1788 Parra traveled to Madrid with some of his samples and an edition of Description of Different Pieces of Natural History. Charles III, and his successor Charles IV, acquired part of Parra’s collection for the Cabinet of Natural History in Madrid.
Between 1790 and 1792 Parra collected and sent to Madrid, Cuban seeds and plants in order to acclimatize them in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid and in Aranjuez.
His experience in this sense helped him to write and publish in Madrid the pamphlet Discourse on the means of Connaturalizing in Spain the Cedars of Havana, and Other Trees, as well as construction, as of curious woods and fruit trees (1799). In it he referred to the species sent by him to Spain, and how to acclimatize them in the gardens of Aranjuez, Cádiz and other Spanish regions.

Editor Blas de los Olivos. Government Printing and Captaincy General. 1787.

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