CodeDS/UK/64
Person NameSibbald; Robert (1641-1722); Sir; physician; geographer
Dates1641-1722
TitleSir
Epithetphysician; geographer
HistoryRobert Sibbald was born in Edinburgh on 15 April 1641. He was educated in Cupar in Fife, Dundee, and Edinburgh, and studied at Edinburgh University. At first it was thought he would enter the Church but then he decided on medicine and in 1660 went to Leiden in the Netherlands. After taking his degree of MD in 1661 with a dissertation entitled De variis tabis speciebus he went to Paris and then to Angers. In 1662 he returned to Edinburgh by way of London. In 1667, after obtaining some ground belonging to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, he and Dr. Andrew Balfour established a botanical garden. His scheme soon attracted the attention of other physicians interested in the plants that might be exploited for medicine and ground was leased beside the city's Trinity Hospital. Sibbald was also one of the founders of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) which obtained a charter in 1681. In 1682 he was appointed physician to Charles II and in the same year he was made Geographer of Scotland. In 1684 Sibbald produced a Pharmacopoia Edinburgensis and on 4 December of that year was elected president of the RCPE. On 5 March 1685 he was appointed the first professor of medicine at Edinburgh University.

Sibbald had begun to make collections for a geographical and statistical account of Scotland including a description of its natural history. His publications include Nuncius Scoto-Britannus, de descriptione Scotiae antiquae et modernae (1683), Scotia illustrata; sive prodomus historiae naturalis; in quo regionis natura, incolarum ingenia et mores, morbid iisque medendi methodus, et medicina indigena, accurate explicantur (1684), Provision for the poor in the time of dearth and scarcity (1699), History ancient and modern of the Sheriffdom of Fife and Kinross (1710), and Specimen glossarii de populis et locis Britanniae borealis, in explicatione locorum quorundam difficilium apud scriptores veteres (1711). Sir Robert Sibbald died in August 1722.

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