Jose Celestino Mutis, 1732-1808, was one of Linnaeus' first disciples in Spain. He went to South America and settled c.1760 in Bogota. He collected numerous plants, especially in the Andes, and introduced several into general use. His study of quinine, on which he wrote El Arcano de la Quina (1793), facilitated the colonization of malaria-ridden regions. Most of his monumentally planned work, Flora de la Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reyno de Granada, was left in manuscript and has been in the process of publication since 1954.
Around 1763 Mutis proposed the idea of the Expedition to the King of Spain, but 20 years passed before the suggestion was taken up. Mutis then spent 20 years directing it, covering 8000 sq kilometres of modern Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.