Linnaeus was born in the countryside of Småland, in southern Sweden. He received most of his higher education at Uppsala University and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735 and 1738, where he studied and also published a first edition of his Systema Naturae in the Netherlands. He then returned to Sweden, where he became professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 1760s, he continued to collect and classify animals, plants and minerals, while publishing several volumes. At the time of his death, he was one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe.
The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: "Tell him I know no greater man on earth." The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly." Swedish author August Strindberg wrote: "Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist". Among other compliments, Linnaeus has been called Princeps botanicorum (Prince of Botanists), "The Pliny of the North", and "The Second Adam". He is also considered as one of the founders of modern ecology.
In botany, the author abbreviation used to indicate Linnaeus as the authority for species' names is L. In older publications, sometimes the abbreviation "Linn." is found (for instance in: Cheeseman, T. F. (1906). Manual of the New Zealand Flora.). Linnaeus' remains comprise the type specimen for the species Homo sapiens, following the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, since the sole specimen he is known to have examined when writing the species description was himself.
Linnæus was born in the village of Råshult in Småland, Sweden, on 23 May 1707. He was the first child of Nicolaus (Nils) Ingemarsson (who later adopted the family name Linnæus) and Christina Brodersonia. His siblings were Anna Maria Linnæa, Sofia Juliana Linnæa, Samuel Linnæus (who would eventually succeed their father as rector of Stenbrohult and write a manual on beekeeping), and Emerentia Linnæa. His family spoke so much Latin at home, that Linnæus learned Latin before he learned Swedish.
One of a long line of peasants and priests, Nils was an amateur botanist, a Lutheran minister, and the curate of the small village of Stenbrohult in Småland. Christina was the daughter of the rector of Stenbrohult, Samuel Brodersonius.:376