Charles Marie de la Condamine

Engraving of La Condamine by la Jeune (1768) from original by Choffard (1759)

Charles Marie de la Condamine

Born Jan 28, 1701
Died Feb 04, 1774


French mathematician, physicist, explorer, and geographer, educated at the Jesuit College of Louis-le-Grand in Paris. After having participated in exploratory missions to Africa, Asia and South America (1735-1745), he was elected member of the French Academy and the French Academy of Sciences, and in 1748 of the Royal Society. In 1751 was published his Journal du voyage fait par ordre du roi a l'équateur, a journal of his travels. In 1754 he published one of the earliest western works on inoculation, Mémoire sur l'Inoculation, translated ínto english the next year as A Discourse on Inoculation.

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell met him at Dr. Pringle's on June 12, 1763, describing him as "very old, and so deaf the he could hear only by the assistance of a horn." Pringle probably knew La Condamine from the Royal Society and/or his work in the field of inoculation.


First editions of the original french edition of Condamine's travel journal is sometimes available from online used book stores, as are copies of some of his other works. Try performing a search for author Condamine. The first 100 pages of Victor von Hagen's 1949 book South America Called Them: Explorations of the Great Naturalists deals entirely with la Condamine (Part I) - the second part is about Alexander von Humboldt.