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Sir Joseph Hooker (1817-1911) was one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the nineteenth century. He succeeded his father, Sir William Jackson Hooker, as Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and was a close friend and supporter of Charles Darwin. His journey to the Himalayas and India was undertaken between 1847 and 1851 to collect plants for Kew, and his account, published in 1854, was dedicated to Darwin. Hooker collected some 7,000 species in India and Nepal, and carried out surveys and made maps which proved of economic and military importance to the British. He was arrested by the Rajah of Sikkim, but the British authorities secured his release by threatening to invade, and annexing part of the small kingdom. He makes many observations about the inhabitants of the areas he visited, making the book a useful resource for anyone interested in nineteenth-century India.
Volume 1: Preface; 1. Sunderbunds vegetation; 2. Doomree; 3. Ek-powa Ghat; 4. Leave Bhaugulpore; 5. View from Mr. Hodgon's of range of snowy mountains; 6. Excursion from Dorjiling to Great Rungeet; 7. Continue the ascent of Tonglo; 8. Difficulty in procuring leave to enter Sikkimi; 9. Leave Mywa; 10. Return from Wallanchoon pass; 11. Ascend to Nago mountain; 12. Yalloong valley; 13. Raklang pass; 14. Tassiding, view of and from; 15. Leave Yoksun for Kinchinjunga; 16. Ratong river below Mon Lepcha; 17. Dispatch collections. Volume 2: 18. Arrangements for second journey into Sikkim; 19. Routes from Choontam to Tibet frontier; 20. Camp on Zemu river; 21. Top of Kongra Lama; 22. Leave Lachoong for Tunkra pass; 23. Donkia glaciers; 24. Ascent of Bhomtso; 25. Journey to the Rajah's residence at Tumloong; 26. Dr. Campbell is ordered to appear at Durbar; 27. Leave Dorjiling for Calcutta; 28. Churra, English station of; 29. View of Himalaya from the Khasia; 30. Boat voyage to Silhet; Appendix.