Benedikt Roezl

9 2005 Dějiny English
obálka čísla

A Czech gardener and traveler was born in Horomerice in 1824 and died in Prague in 1885. His fate was similar to that of a number of important Czech travelers who are almost forgotten, although their lives would be worth the attention of writers and filmmakers. His statue at the end of Karlovo namesti was created due to a colossal error of city counsellors of the New Town of Prague. Originally a statue of J. Ressl, the inverntor of the ships' screw was to stand there. Finally a street was named for him. The fate of his inventions, by the way, also was not enviable.

Let us return to B. Roezl. Although he learned gardening as an apprentice at the estate of the Thuns in Decin, he became an excellent botanist. He worked in Moravia, Galicia and Vienna and finally landed in Belgium, where he not only perfected his gardening skills, but also his knowledge of botany and of languages. In addition to Czech and German he knew English, French and Dutch. At the age of twenty one he started out for America. He was not interested in becoming rich, but in the tropical flora and therefore headed for Mexico. Staying in Central America for twenty seven years, he sent to Holland a number of different plants which were unknown there. As most travelers from the Czech lands, he came from modest circumstances. He was interested in how the local population, the Indians, lived. Roezl developed plantations of a special kind of local nettles, which could be turned into textile fibres. A machine which he invented for further processing deprived him of a hand. He briefly returned to Europe, but soon returned to America, this time with two nephews. With them he traveled to Mexico, Panama, Peru and Cuba - a trip which took one year. They brought a rich collection of plants they discovered to Prague. He was nicknamed "the orchid hunter". For the rest of his life he was interested in news in the field of gardening and botany. He corresponded with colleagues abroad. A number of plants, mainly orchids, were given names to which "Roezli" was added, because they were discovered and described by the man of Horomerice. A man of his greatness fully deserves the statue of a slender man with a broad-rimmed hat. Unfortunately today few people know anything about his life filled with adventures and discoveries. We hope that when you pass his statue in the park, you will devote some quiet moments to his memory.

Jana Volfová
Translated by Charles Opatrný

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

Informace o webu 2012