Benjamin Banneker
(1731-1806)

 

American astronomer, surveyor, and mathematician who published almanacs 1792-97.
He took part in the survey that prepared the establishment of the US capital, Washington DC.

Banneker was born near the Patapsco River in Baltimore County.
He was self-taught and worked most of his life on a tobacco farm.
He engaged in a long correspondence with politician Thomas Jefferson, defending the mental capacities of black people and urging the abolition of slavery.
In 1753, at the age of 21, having studied only a pocket watch, Banneker constructed a striking clock.
This was the first clock of its kind in America and operated for more than 40 years.
Having taught himself to calculate an ephemeris and to make projections for lunar and solar eclipses, Banneker compiled an ephemeris for each year 1791-1804, though not all were published.
He also wrote a dissertation on bees and did a study of locust plague cycles.
 
 

 


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