Don Pedro - saknad i paradiset
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February 22, 1756, exactly 250 years ago, died one of Linnaeus’ apostles, the Swede Pehr Löfling, at the missions of San Antonio de Caroní, Venezuela. He was buried under an orange tree, just 27 years old. Sent by Linnaeus to participate in a Spanish border expedition, led by José de Iturriaga, he had the task to explore the flora and fauna of the New World. After spending more than two years in Spain, he finally arrived to Cumaná, the capital of New Andalusia, in April 11, 1754. He collected plants and animals, saw the sea near the fort of Araya gleaming like a starry heaven. Later on he travelled to Barcelona and the Franciscan missions of Píritu further to the west. In April 1755 he went south to Moitaco on the Orinoco River, and from there downstream to the tributary Río Caroní. Here in Guayana he spent his last months, exploring the plants and animals of the area, meeting Indians and missionaries, while he suffered from malaria. Today, there are still places to be seen from the time of Löfling, among others the ruins of Misión de la Purísima Concepción del Caroní, close to Ciudad Guayana. Löfling is not forgotten. In Puerto Ordaz there is a school named after him, Colegio Loefling. And monuments have been raised to his honour. On the day of his death a memorial stone was unveiled in 2006, in the botanical garden in Caracas.