This electronic version of Mark Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands is divided into two volumes, following Catesby's own organization of his work. Readers can browse each volume or go directly to specific entries from the contents pages. Another way to navigate this etext is through the Linnaean index. The binomial nomenclature provided here is taken from the 1771 edition of Natural History published by Benjamin White. Selecting the small image on each page will open a window with a larger copy of this image.

I have not altered Catesby's idiosyncracies in spelling, grammer or punctuation, but for the sake of legibility I have bolded words which Catesby italicized. To the same end, I have normalized the appearance of the long s.

In this electronic edition Catesby's preface appears at the start of Volume II. This is how the sections were bound in most copies of the first edition, as well as in subsequent editions, but this does depart from the copy I used in which the preface begins Volume II. While the text in every edition of Catesby's work is in French and English, I have only reproduced his words in English. This electronic edition also departs from each printed edition in that illustrations appear on the same page as the text while Catesby's illustration and relevant text were each on a separate page. Readers wishing to view a larger image, should click on the thumbnail.

The images and text in this electronic edition are taken from a first edition copy, published in installments from 1731 through 1743 in London at the expense of the author, at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. I am extremely grateful to the staff of Special Collections for making these digital images available to me. As the twenty plate appendix to Volume II is missing from this copy. I relied upon a separately bound copy of the appendix, published in 1748, again from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia, for those images.

In 1747 Mark Catesby published the final installment of The Natural History of Florida, Carolina and the Bahama Islands. Its production, from inception to publication, took close to thirty years. All two-hundred and twenty images were first drawn, then engraved by Catesby's own hand. But without the substantial aid of several others, this work could not have been published. The prefatory essay provides the Natural History's own history, a fascinating tale of the political, commercial and scientific forces impacting both the author and the subject of this great work.

prefatory essay