Charles Hamilton Smith

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Hamilton Smith, KH (26 December 1776 in East Flanders, Belgium – 21 September 1859 in Plymouth) was an English artist, naturalist, antiquary, illustrator, soldier, and spy.

"Privates of the Greek Light Infantry Regiment"
from Costumes of the Army of the British Empire

Military service

His military career began in 1787, when he studied at the Austrian academy for artillery and engineers at Mechelen and Leuven in Belgium. Although his military service, which ended in 1820 and included the Napoleonic Wars, saw him travel extensively (including the West Indies, Canada, and United States), much of his time was spent at a desk job in Britain. One of his noteworthy achievements was an 1800 experiment to determine which colour should be used for military uniforms. The increasing accuracy of firearms, especially rifles, brought advantages to shades which offer a less distinctive target – by testing the accuracy of a rifle company against grey, green, and red targets, he showed scientifically the advantages of grey (and to a lesser extent, green) uniforms over red ones common at the time, and recommended that grey be adopted for riflemen and light infantry. The British army did not heed his advice, with green becoming the colour associated with light infantry. Initially commissioned into the 60th Foot, Smith later transferred to the 6th Foot.

Antiquary, naturalist and illustrator

Houghton HEW 15.8.5 - Smith, 125
"United States Artillery" by Smith

As a prolific self-taught illustrator, he is also known in military history circles for Costume of the Army of the British Empire, produced towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars and an accurate depiction of contemporary British uniform. As an antiquarian, he also produced, in collaboration with Samuel Rush Meyrick, Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands, 1815, and The Ancient Costume of England, with historical illustrations of medieval knights, ladies, shipsm and battles. The majority of his vast body of work (he estimated it was over 38,000 drawings) was not military in character, but largely passed into obscurity. Notebooks of his observations as a naturalist have survived, as well as antiquarian illustrations of civilian life. He also wrote on the history of the Seven Years' War and the natural history of dogs.[1] Smith was of Flemish origin; he wrote the military part of Cox's Marlborough and many military and natural history books.[2]

The Natural History of the Human Species

Smith published The Natural History of the Human Species in 1848. In this book, he maintained that there had always been three fundamentally distinct human types: the Caucasian, the Mongolian, and the Negro. Smith was nominally a monogenist, maintaining that the creation of humans was single rather than multiple, but he was less convinced by the standard theories of the time coming from Count Buffon and Georges Cuvier on interfertility and species;[3] the book also referred to the polygenist views held by Samuel George Morton.[4]

Smith's book was reprinted in America, where Samuel Kneeland wrote an 84-page introduction to it. Kneeland laid out evidence which he maintained supported polygenist creationism, and argued that the Bible is compatible with multiple Adams.[5]

On retirement Smith settled in Plymouth, joining The Plymouth Institution (now The Plymouth Athenaeum).[6] He delivered lectures and many of his 20 volumes of MSS notes, letters and papers were deposited in the Institution. His collection was destroyed when The Plymouth Athenaeum was bombed during The Blitz in 1941.[7]


  • "Smith, Charles Hamilton" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  1. ^ "Charles Hamilton Smith". Library of Congress. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  2. ^ DNB Epitome
  3. ^ Damon Ieremia Salesa, Racial Crossings: Race, intermarriage, and the Victorian British Empire (2011), pp. 148–9; Google Books.
  4. ^ Gustav Jahoda, Crossroads Between Culture and Mind: Continuities and Change in Theories of Human Nature, 1993, p. 93.
  5. ^ David N. Livingstone, Adam's Ancestors: race, religion, and the politics of human origins (2008), pp. 97–99
  6. ^ "Historic People". Plymouth Athenaeum. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Historic People". Plymouth Athenaeum. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
1776 in art

Events from the year 1776 in art.


Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the subfamily Bovinae.

Two extant and six extinct species are recognised. Of the six extinct species, five became extinct in the Quaternary extinction event. Bison palaeosinensis evolved in the Early Pleistocene in South Asia, and was the evolutionary ancestor of B. priscus (steppe bison), which was the ancestor of all other Bison species. From 2 MYA to 6,000 BC, steppe bison ranged across the mammoth steppe, inhabiting Europe and northern Asia with B. schoetensacki (woodland bison), and North America with B. antiquus, B. latifrons, and B. occidentalis. The last species to go extinct, B. occidentalis, was succeeded at 3,000 BC by B. bison.

Of the two surviving species, the American bison, B. bison, found only in North America, is the more numerous. Although commonly known as a buffalo in the United States and Canada, it is only distantly related to the true buffalo. The North American species is composed of two subspecies, the Plains bison, B. b. bison, and the Wood bison, B. b. athabascae, which is the namesake of Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. A third subspecies, the Eastern Bison (B. b. pennsylvanicus) is no longer considered a valid taxon, being a junior synonym of B. b. bison. References to "Woods Bison" or "Wood Bison" from the eastern United States confusingly refer to this subspecies, not B. b. athabascae, which was not found in the region. The European bison, B. bonasus, or wisent, is found in Europe and the Caucasus, reintroduced after being extinct in the wild.

While all bison species are classified in their own genus, they are sometimes bred with domestic cattle (genus Bos) and produce fertile offspring called beefalo or zubron.

Black wolf

A black wolf is a melanistic colour variant of the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Black specimens are recorded among red wolves (Canis rufus), and these colour variants are probably still around today. Genetic research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles revealed that wolves with black pelts owe their distinctive coloration to a mutation which occurred in domestic dogs, and was carried to wolves through wolf-dog hybridization. Besides coat colour they are normal grey wolves.


Bubalus is a genus of bovines that was first described by Charles Hamilton Smith in 1827. This genus comprises the following living species:

Wild water buffalo Bubalus arnee Kerr, 1792

Domestic water buffalo Bubalus bubalus Linnaeus, 1758

Lowland anoa Bubalus depressicornis Smith, 1827

Tamaraw Bubalus mindorensis Heude, 1888

Mountain anoa Bubalus quarlesi Ouwens, 1910The nomenclature and classification of domestic animals as species, subspecies, races or breeds has been discussed controversially for many years and was inconsistent between authors. Assessors of the Food and Agriculture Organization consider domestic water buffalo populations as breeds.


Cephalophus is a mammal genus which contains at least fifteen species of duiker, a type of small antelope.

Clitellaria ephippium

Clitellaria ephippium is a species of 'Soldier Fly' (so named for the thorns that armor the body) belonging to the family Stratiomyidae.

Color terminology for race

Identifying human races in terms of skin color, at least as one among several physiological characteristics, has been common since antiquity. Via rabbinical literature, the division is received in early modern scholarship, mostly in four to five categories. It was long recognized that the number of categories is arbitrary and subjective. François Bernier (1684) doubted the validity of using skin color as a racial characteristic, and Charles Darwin emphasized the gradual differences between categories.The modern categorization was coined at the Göttingen School of History in the late 18th century – in parallel with the Biblical terms for race Semitic, Hamitic and Japhetic – dividing mankind into five colored races: "Caucasian or White", "Mongolian or Yellow", "Aethiopian or Black", "American or Red" and "Malayan or Brown" subgroups.

Cross fox

The cross fox is a partially melanistic colour variant of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) which has a long dark stripe running down its back, intersecting another stripe to form a cross over the shoulders. It tends to be more abundant in northern regions, and is rarer than the common red form, but is more common than the even darker silver fox.


Dusicyon is an extinct genus of South American canids. The type species is Dusicyon australis, the Falkland Islands wolf. In 1914, Oldfield Thomas established this genus, in which he included the culpeo and other South American foxes. These other canids were removed to Lycalopex by Langguth in 1975. Dusicyon avus, widely distributed in the late Pleistocene from Uruguay through Buenos Aires Province to southernmost Chile, is the closest known relative of the Falkland Islands wolf; the two lineages split only about 16,000 years ago. It died out in the late Holocene, about 2980 years ago on the island of Tierra del Fuego and almost 1700 years in the continent.There is still much debate about the classification of "Dusicyon" cultridens. It has been suggested that this species be placed in the genera Canis or Lycalopex. This debate makes D. cultridens poorly researched.

Edward Griffith (zoologist)

Edward Griffith (1790–1858) was a British naturalist and solicitor. He wrote General and Particular Descriptions of the Vertebrated Animals (1821) and translated Georges Cuvier's Règne animal, making considerable additions (1827–35).

Kobus (antelope)

Kobus is a genus containing six species of African antelopes, all of which are associated with marshes, floodplains, or other grassy areas near water. They are sexually dimorphic, with females being smaller and lacking the horns of the males.

Lesser electric ray

The lesser electric ray (Narcine bancroftii), also known as the Brazilian electric ray, small electric ray, spotted torpedo ray, torpedofish or trembler, is a species of numbfish in the family Narcinidae found on the western coastal fringes of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It is a small slow-moving fish, living in the surf zone of sandy or muddy beaches. Here it is easily caught as bycatch by shrimp fisheries and seine netters. As a result, its numbers have declined rapidly and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated it as being "critically endangered".

Maxwell's duiker

The Maxwell's duiker (Philantomba maxwellii) is a small antelope found in western Africa.


Neotragus is a genus of dwarf antelope, native to Africa.

The genus includes only a single species without any dispute, namely Neotragus pygmaeus. Recent nucleic acid studies now suggest that the other two species formerly included in the genus are not closely related, and should be assigned to the genus Nesotragus.


Raphicerus is a genus of small antelopes of the tribe Neotragini (subfamily Antilopinae).

Raphicerus is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from Kenya in the north to the Western Cape in South Africa.

The genus contains three species:

Cape or southern grysbok R. melanotis

Sharpe's or northern grysbok R. sharpei

Steenbok R. campestris

Rusa (genus)

Rusa is a genus of deer from southern Asia. They have traditionally been included in Cervus, and genetic evidence suggests this may be more appropriate than their present placement in a separate genus.Three of the four species have relatively small distributions in the Philippines and Indonesia, but the sambar is more widespread, ranging from India east and north to China and south to the Greater Sundas. All are threatened by habitat loss and hunting in their native ranges, but three of the species have also been introduced elsewhere.

Senegalese wolf

The Senegalese wolf (Canis anthus anthus), also known as the grey jackal, slender jackal or Anthus, is the nominate subspecies of the African golden wolf native to Senegal.

Sir William Jardine, 7th Baronet

Sir William Jardine, 7th Baronet of Applegarth FRS FRSE FLS FSA (23 February 1800 – 21 November 1874) was a Scottish naturalist. He is known for his editing of a long series of natural history books, The Naturalist's Library.

Tahitian Dog

The Tahitian Dog (Tahitian: ʻŪrī Mā’ohi, literally translated as 'native dog') is an extinct breed of dog from Tahiti and the Society Islands. Similar to other strains of Polynesian dogs, it was introduced to the Society Islands and Tahiti by the ancestors of the Tahitian (Mā’ohi) people during their migrations to Polynesia. They were an essential part of traditional Tahitian society; their meat was included in Tahitian cuisine and other parts of the dog were used to make tools and ornamental clothing. Dogs were fed a vegetarian diet and served during feasts as a delicacy. European explorers were the first outsiders to observe and record their existence, and they were served to early explorers including Captain James Cook. The Tahitian Dog disappeared as a distinct breed after the introduction of foreign European dogs.

Color terminology
Sub-types (anthropological)
Diachronic (Archaeogenetics)

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