Don Antonio de Ulloa y de la Torre-Giralt




Commonly known as Antonio de Ulloa, he was a Spanish mathematician and explorer, who with his colleagues was commissioned by the French Academy of Sciences in 1735 to travel to New Granada (northern South America) to measure a degree of meridian at the equator to determine whether the earth bulged at the poles (as predicted by Newton) or at the poles (as predicted by Cassini and Descartes). He stayed in New Granada 1736-1744. He wrote an account of his travels and described "platina de pinto" (silver of the Pinto River), a metal which was difficult to work and which was eventually known as platinum. Since he was the first to write of this metal and brought samples back to Europe, he is recognized as the "discoverer" of platinum. He was responsible for bringing back the first cinnamon and rubber trees to the Old World.



  1. Photographs of Columbia

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