Charles Lucien Bonaparte

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Charles Lucien Bonaparte
Charles Lucien Bonaparte
Born (1803-05-24)May 24, 1803
Died July 29, 1857(1857-07-29) (aged 54)
Nationality French
Fields zoologist

Charles Lucien (Carlo) Jules Laurent Bonaparte, 2nd Prince of Canino and Musignano (May 24, 1803 – July 29, 1857) was a French biologist and ornithologist. Lucien and his wife had twelve children, including Cardinal Lucien Bonaparte.


Bonaparte was the son of Lucien Bonaparte and Alexandrine de Bleschamp, and nephew of Emperor Napoleon. He was raised in Italy. On June 29, 1822, in Brussels, he married his cousin Zénaïde. Soon after the marriage, the couple left for Philadelphia to live with Zénaïde's father, Joseph Bonaparte.[1] Before leaving Italy, Carlo had already discovered a warbler new to science, the Moustached Warbler, and on the voyage he collected specimens of a new storm-petrel. On arrival in the United States, he presented a paper on this new bird, which was later named after Alexander Wilson.

Bonaparte then set about studying the ornithology of the United States[1] and updating Wilson's American Ornithology, and the revised edition was published between 1825 and 1833. In 1824 Bonaparte tried to get the then unknown John James Audubon accepted by the Academy of Natural Sciences, but this was opposed by the ornithologist George Ord.

At the end of 1826, Bonaparte and his family returned to Europe. He visited Germany, where he met Philipp Jakob Cretzschmar, and England, where he met John Edward Gray at the British Museum, and renewed his acquaintance with Audubon. In 1828 the family settled in Rome. In Italy he was the originator of several scientific congresses, and lectured and wrote extensively on American and European ornithology and other branches of natural history.[1] Between 1832 and 1841, Bonaparte published his work on the animals of Italy, Iconografia della Fauna Italica. He had also published Specchio Comparativo delle Ornithologie di Roma e di Filadelfia (Pisa, 1827), presenting a comparison between birds of the latitude of Philadelphia and Italian species.[1] He created the genus Zenaida, after his wife, for the Mourning Dove and its relatives.

In 1849 he was elected to the Roman Assembly and participated in the creation of the Roman Republic. According to Jasper Ridley, when the Assembly convened for the first time: "When the name of Carlo Bonaparte, who was a member for Viterbo, was called, he replied to the roll-call by calling out Long live the Republic!" (Viva la Repubblica!).[2] He participated in the defense of Rome against the 40,000 French troops sent by his cousin Louis Napoleon. He left Rome after the Republican army was defeated in July 1849. He landed at Marseilles but was ordered to leave the country by Louis Napoleon. He reaffirmed his political beliefs the following year in naming Wilson's Bird-of-paradise (Cicinnurus respublica) in honor of the republican idea.

He travelled to England, attending the meeting of the British Association in Birmingham. He then visited Sir William Jardine in southern Scotland. Charles then began work on preparing a methodical classification of all the birds in the world, visiting museums across Europe to study the collections. In 1850,[1] he was allowed to return to France, and he made Paris his home for the rest of his life. In 1854, he became director of the Jardin des Plantes.[1] In 1855, he was made a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He published the first volume of his Conspectus Generum Avium before his death, the second volume being edited by Hermann Schlegel.


Prince Charles and Princess Zénaïde Bonaparte had twelve children, listed below :

Name Date of birth Date of death
Joseph Lucien Charles Napoleon Bonaparte, 3rd Prince of Canino and Musignano 13 February 1824 2 September 1865(1865-09-02) (aged 41)
Alexandrine Gertrude Zénaïde Bonaparte 9 June 1826 May 1828
Lucien Louis Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, 4th Prince of Canino and Musignano 15 November 1828 19 November 1895(1895-11-19) (aged 67)
Julie Charlotte Bonaparte 5 June 1830 28 October 1900(1900-10-28) (aged 70)
Charlotte Honorine Joséphine Pauline Bonaparte 4 March 1832 1 October 1901(1901-10-01) (aged 69)
Léonie Stéphanie Elise Bonaparte 18 September 1833 14 September 1839(1839-09-14) (aged 5)
Marie Désirée Eugénie Joséphine Philomène Bonaparte 18 March 1835 28 August 1890(1890-08-28) (aged 55)
Augusta Amélie Maximilienne Jacqueline Bonaparte 9 November 1836 29 March 1900(1900-03-29) (aged 63)
Napoléon Charles Grégoire Jacques Philippe Bonaparte, 5th Prince of Canino and Musignano 5 February 1839 11 February 1899(1899-02-11) (aged 60)
Bathilde Aloïse Léonie Bonaparte 26 November 1840 9 June 1861(1861-06-09) (aged 20)
Albertine Marie Thérèse Bonaparte 12 March 1842 3 June 1842(1842-06-03) (aged 0)
Charles Albert Bonaparte 22 March 1843 6 December 1847(1847-12-06) (aged 4)


  • American Ornithology, or, The Natural History of Birds Inhabiting the United States (4 vols., Philadelphia, 1825-'33). This work contains more than 100 new species discovered by Bonaparte.
  • Conspectus Generum Avium (Leyden, 1850)
  • Revue critique de l'ornithologie Européenne (Brussels, 1850)
  • Monographie des loxiens (Leyden, 1850) in collaboration with H. Schlegel
  • Catalogue des oiseaux d'Europe (Paris, 1856)
  • Memoirs (New York, 1836)

In conjunction with M. de Pouancé, he also prepared descriptive catalogue of pigeons and one of parrots which were published after his death. Among his papers published are:

  • “Observations on the Nomenclature of Wilson's ‘Ornithology,’” Journal of the Academy of Philadelphia
  • “Synopsis of the Birds of the United States,” Annals of the Lyceum of New York
  • “Catalogue of the Birds of the United States,” Contributions of the Maclurian Lyceum of Philadelphia



  1. ^ a b c d e f Template:Cite Appletons'
  2. ^ Jasper Ridley, Garibaldi, Viking Press (1976), p. 268.


  • Thomas, Phillip Drennon (2002). "The emperor of nature: Charles-Lucien Bonaparte and his world. [Review of: Stroud, P.T. The emperor of nature: Charles-Lucien Bonaparte and his world. Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Pr., 2000]". Journal of American history (Bloomington, Ind.) 88 (4): pp. 1517. PMID 16845779 
  • Stroud, Patricia Tyson - The Emperor of Nature. Charles-Lucien Bonaparte and his World ISBN 0-8122-3546-0
  • Mearns, Barbara and Richard - Biographies for Birdwatchers ISBN 0-12-487422-3
  • Ridley, Jasper - Garibaldi Viking Press (1976)
  • Template:CathEncy

External links[edit]

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