Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SONNINI DE MANONCOURT, Charles Nicolas Sigisbert, French traveller, born in Luneville, France, 1 February, 1751 ; died in Paris, France, 9 May, 1812. Although, from deference to his father's wishes, he studied law, his fondness for natural history and his passion for travel led him to enter the navy in 1772, shortly after he had been called to the bar at Nancy. He went to Cayenne in 1773, and soon acquired reputation for his daring journeys into the interior. The government employed him several times in expeditions that were of the greatest advantage to the colony. In 1774 he traversed Guiana m its entire breadth as far as Peru. In another expedition he discovered, after wandering through immense marshes, a water route through which he reached the Gabrielle mountain. He made a valuable collection of rare birds, which he presented to the Paris cabinet of natural history. An attack of fever obliged him to return to France, and he selected Montbard as his residence, near the home of Buffon, by whose direction he described twenty-six species of American birds, comprising those belonging to the gallinaceous order, and the water-fowl. He afterward served in the French navy, travelled extensively in Asia and Africa, and wrote numerous books of travel and agriculture and natural history, among others "Histoire naturelle des reptiles" (4 vols., Paris, 1802-'26), and " Histoire naturelle des poissons et des cetaces (14 vols., 1804) See " Eloge historique de Sonnini," by Arsdne Thiebaud de Berneaud (1812).
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