Alexander von Humboldt is a celebrated naturalist and author who compiled materials for what would become a fascinating physical and cultural geography of Havana, Cuba. In his essay entitled Essai politique sur l'île de Cuba, Humboldt also incorporated his knowledge of slavery into his first-hand descriptions of his scientific practice. The broad circulation of this essay demonstrates the continued importance of West Indian nature as an object of scientific knowledge and site of literary innovation in the early to mid-nineteenth century.
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