DOI Prefix : 10.9780 | Journal DOI : 10.9780/22307850
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Volume : III, Issue : VI, July - 2013

Danish Missionaries And Their Scientific Notes And Botanical Experiments In Tranquebar


DOI : 10.9780/22307850, Published By : Laxmi Book Publication

Abstract :

The Danish Missionaries who constituted mostly Germans were sent to Tamil Country by the King of Denmark .They landed at Tranquebar (Tarangambadi) and involved in the spread of gospel of Christianity. The early Danish Protestant Christian Missionaries contribute much to the Tamil literatures and for the introduction Western Medicine and medical practices in Tamil Country. They introduced printing press in Tamil and enriched Tamilology. They did not underestimate the indigenous medical works Tamil Siddhas and Saints. They collected the native medical notes which are kept and preserved in palm leaves for a long time and sent to European Countries where they were compiled and published in books. Thus there was exchange of scientific knowledge and the missionaries served as a link between the West and East. The Missionaries at Tranquebar contacted the Missionaries of the different parts of the World and invited medicinal plants to Tranquebar where they had grown in nursery. The Danish Missionaries were employed by the British Administrators in their services and they were freely allowed to spread Christianity and share scientific knowledge and experiments to the needy native people who were suffered from chronic and epidemic diseases. The notes, letters and diaries of the Danish Missionaries at Tranquebar are filled with particulars about their acquirement of native scientific knowledge, culture of the indigenous people, financial constraints of the missionaries and the necessity of the western medical treatment. The Danish Missionaries like Ziegenbalg, Rottler, Schwartz Gruendler, and Christopher John are remembered for ever for their immense legacy in the sphere of science especially Botany.

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Cite This Article :

D.Victoria, (2013). Danish Missionaries And Their Scientific Notes And Botanical Experiments In Tranquebar. Indian Streams Research Journal, Vol. III, Issue. VI, DOI : 10.9780/22307850,

References :

  1. Furber, John Company at Work, Harvard, 1948/1951, pp. 110-120.
  2. Roxburgh to Banks, Samulcottah, 24 November 1782, Banks Correspondence, BL, Vol.I, 1765-84, p. 181.
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  7. Thomas Philipps, J., (tr.), Thirty Four Conferences between the Danish Missionaries and the Malabarian Bramans (or Heathen Priests) in the East Indies. London, MDCCXIX, pp. 343-52.
  8. Denmark established a trading station at Tranquebar in 1616. Almost one hundred years later two Germans, Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plutschau, arrived in Tranquebar as missionaries sponsored by King Frederick IV.
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  16. An Account of the Religion, and Government, learning, and Oeconomy, & c of the Malabarians: Sent by the Danish Missionaries to their Correspondents in Europe, London, 1717, pp. 61-62.
  17. Ibid., pp.62-63.
  18. Meenakshi Sundram, K., Iropiar Tamizh pani (Tamil), (Tamil Services of Europeans) University of Madras, Madras, 2003,p.68
  19. The Hospital Board 10 October 1788, Surgeon's General's Records, Vol. 3, from 1 January 1788 to 22 December 1788, G. no. 12440, Tamil Nadu Archives (hereafter TNA), pp. 200-201.
  20. Letter from the Military Board to the Hospital Board', Fort St. George, 14 October 1788, Ibid., pp. 209-210.
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  25. In 1790 Father John sent a list of medicinal plants collected by him to Roxburgh with details of its local uses, as desired by the latter. In 1791 in another letter he sent a list of plants and information of their medical uses, as collected from 'Malabar Physicians', with their names written in Malabar script.
  26. Letter from Christopher John to William Roxburgh, 17 August 1793, Tranquebar, 1793, Botany Library, Natural History Museum.
  27. Patrik Chakrabarti, op.cit.,p.61.
  28. Christopher Samuel John, On Indian Civilization, or, Report of a Successful Experiment, Made. . . in Fifteen Tamul, and Five English Native Free-schools; with Proposals for Establishing a Native School Society, London, 1813, pp. 38-40.
  29. Patrik Chakrabarti, op.cit.,pp.61-62.
  30. Lamb, G.H., C.F.Schwartz, Madras, 1948, p.3
  31. Caldwell , R., Records of the Early History of Tinnevelly Mission of SPCK and SPG, Madras, 1881, pp.3-9
  32. Letter from Schwartz to the Mission College, 10 July 1766.
  33. Wilson, W.J., History of the Madras Army, Vol. I, Madras, 1882, p.219.
  34. The Journal of Sir Paul Jodrell, M.D., F.R.S., July 1st 1792-May 31st 1793, p. 74.
  35. .Benjamin Heyne, a naturaist and Moravian missionary, resided in India for over twenty years (he was at Tranquebar in 1792) under the patronage of the East India Company. He was superintendent of the Bangalore Garden from 1802 to 1808, and collected the plants that were published by A.W' Roth. He wrote the Tracts, Historical and Statistical, on India and Sumatra, 1814. (Patrik Chakrabarti, op.cit., pp.62-63 and 79.
  36. Viswanathan, S., 'Tamilology and a German Quest: Material Relating to the Study of Ancient Tamil Literature and Culture by German Missionaries in the 18th Century Could Provide New Insights into the Tamil Past', Frontline, Vol. 15, No. 09, Chennai 1998.
  37. Heyne, Tracts, Historical and Statistical, on India and Sumatra, 1814, p. 124.
  38. Ainslie, Materia Indica, no year, p. xxxi.
  39. Furber, John Company at Work, Harvard, 1948/1951, pp. 110-120.

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