Without a doubt, Mark Catesby's "Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahamas Islands" stands as one of the most important and earliest contributions to the study and illustration of natural history in America. His work is especially dear to those of us in the South where he spent so much of his time after arriving in Charleston on May 23, 1722.
Encouragement and financial assistance came from Colonel Francis Nicholson, Governor of South Carolina, among others. Upon his arrival, Mr. Catesby set about to illustrate all the plants, animals, birds, fish, and reptiles in the young British colony. He was frequently assisted along the way by Native Americans. The result was the publication of an everlasting beautiful work consisting of 220 hand-colored engravings.