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David Nelson (died 1789) was botanical collector on the third voyage of James Cook, and botanist on the HMS Bounty under William Bligh at the time of the famous mutiny.

Nothing is known of his ancestry or early life. In 1776, he was recommended as a suitable botanical collector to Cook, who had failed to attract an established botanist to the position. He was appointed, and received a small amount of botanical training and instruction by Joseph Banks and William Aiton before embarking. On returning to Londonmarker in 1780, he worked as a gardener at Kew Gardensmarker for seven years, before accepting an appointment as botanist to Bligh's voyage to Tahitimarker to obtain breadfruit trees. He was caught up in the mutiny and, remaining loyal to the captain, was one of the 19 men cast adrift without arms in a small boat. He survived the famous 3800-mile voyage to Timormarker, but a few days after arriving he spent a day botanising in the mountains, caught a cold, and died.

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