Why the Institut Nicolas Baudin ?

Born in France in 1754, Nicolas Baudin is the last explorer of the Enlightenment Age. After years of sailing as a captain of trade ships in the Indian Ocean, he gained fame by commanding several naturalist expeditions in the Indian Ocean, China, the Caribbean. In 1800, Bonaparte appointed him commander of a scientific expedition to New Holland, now Australia.

Nicolas Baudin never returned from this expedition. He died of tuberculosis on his way back in Mauritius in 1803. But his expedition reached France and proved to be the most prolific of all time: 100,000 species, including 2,500 unknown species. The first complete map of Australia’s coasts was published in Paris in 1811. It was also the first anthropological journey.

In an extraordinary letter written in December 1802 on a small island in the Strait of Bass to the English governor of Sydney, Nicolas Baudin already drew attention to two visionary concepts: the threat of overfishing and the right of peoples to self-determination.

The Nicolas Institute is proud to follow in the footsteps of this amazing discoverer, working for the future as he did until his last day.