Carolus Linnaeus was born on May 23, 1707 in the Almuhlt, Sweden. His father was a priest, but he had no intentions of following in his footsteps and had little interest in theology. In 1717, he moved to the city of Vaxjo, where he attended the local primary school. In 1724, he was admitted to the city's gymnasium.
Possessing a keen interest in botany, Carolus managed to make a profound impression on the town's physician. The physician saw the boy's potential and recommended to Carolus' father that he apply to Lund University. Carolus did so and began his studies with vigor, but the university's botany program was lacking so he decided to transfer to the University of Uppsala.
In the city of Uppsala, Carolus found it very difficult to make ends meet. His father, as a priest, was not wealthy by any means and couldn't help him out. In 1729, he met a local scientist named Olof Celsius, who decided to give Carolus free room and board. That year, he also wrote a paper about the sexes of plants. The paper managed to catch the eye of Olof Rudbeck, a professor of botany at Uppsala University. Rudbeck was so impressed that he made Carolus his adjunct professor.
In 1730, Carolus began giving lectures to students at Uppsala University. In 1732, he was allowed to embark on an expedition to Lapland in the northern part of Sweden. The expedition was funded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences and by the end of the expedition, he had performed enough research and collecting to write a book on the subject, "Flora Lapponica", which was published in 1737.
In 1735, they moved to 1735, where he earned a degree in medicine. He also met a fellow botanist named Jan Frederik Gronovius, who he showed a draft of his paper about taxonomy, entitled "Systema Naturae". The paper was published in the Netherlands in late 1735 and became a historical work.
In 1736, Carolus went to London, England, where he met with members of the Oxford University faculty. He spent several months in London, meeting with individuals like Philip Miller, J. Dillenius, and Hans Sloane, before returning to Amsterdam, where he worked on printing his paper, "Genera Plantarum". In 1738, he moved to the city of Leiden, where he had his paper "Classes Plantarum" printed. After that, he traveled to Paris before going back to Sweden's city of Stockholm.
In 1739, he married a woman named Sara Elisabeth Morea, with whom he would have seven children. That year, he also helped to found the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1741, he was appointed chair of medicine at Uppsala University and moved to the city of Uppsala. After a short time, he transferred to the chair of botany at the university.
In the 1740s, Carolus spent much of his time making field expeditions throughout Sweden. During these trips, he would document the plants and animals that he encountered and attempt to classify them taxonomically. Each of his papers about these expeditions were published and made accessible to the public. Strangely enough, he even tried to bring minerals into his classifications in an attempt to relate them to animals.
In 1757, King Adolf Fredrik of Sweden made Carolus nobility. Following the establishment of nobility, Carolus changed his surname to "von Linne", making his name Carolus von Linne. He also began signing his work Carl Linne to keep things short. Despite his new status, he continued teaching classes at the university as well as writing about plants and animals.
In 1774, he suffered a massive stroke that made him very weak. In 1776, another stroke disabled the right side of his body. On January 10, 1778, he died in the city of Uppsala and he was buried in the city's cathedral.
Today, Carolus Linnaeus is credited with popularizing the use of binomial nomenclature when classifying animals and plants. He is also credited with establishing the Linnean method of taxonomy, which establishes hierarchies including kingdoms, classes, orders, genera, and species. This method of classification is still considered the standard in all areas of biology.