Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Eugene Bourgeau (1813-1877)

Botanist, naturalist.

Born at Brizon, France in 1813. The son of a sheep farmer, his aptitude for natural history led to his employment in the Botanic Garden at Lyons. He went to Paris to become a collector of botanicspecimens for a French botanical society. The British appointed him botanist to the Palliser Expedition in 1857, and he was the first botanist to carefully examine much of the prairies and the Rocky Mountains. He collected over 1,200 specimens and was popular with the Métis. He became a friend of Father Lacombe. In 1859 he went to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to sort his specimens, unfortunately not re-transcribing his habitat notes. He subsequently did fieldwork in Asia Minor, Spain, Mexico, and Rhodes. Bourgeaux insisted that much of the Canadian West was more suitable for grain farming “than one would be inclined to believe.” Bourgeau died in Paris, in 1877.

See also:

Eugene Bourgeaux, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Sources:

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 June 2012

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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