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Plan of the city of Washington in the territory of Columbia
This plan of the city of Washington, D.C., from 1791 shows Banneker's work as surveyor of our country's capital

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Mathematician and Astronomer Benjamin Banneker Was Born
November 9, 1731

In 1752, Banneker attracted attention by building a clock entirely out of wood. The first ever built in America, it kept precise time for decades. Twenty years later, Banneker again caused a stir, when he successfully forecast a 1789 solar eclipse. His correct prediction contradicted those of better-known mathematicians and astronomers. Banneker's abilities impressed many people, including Thomas Jefferson, who recommended him for the surveying team that laid out Washington, D.C., making it the monumental capital it is today.

In his free time, Banneker wrote the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanac and Ephemeris. The almanac included information on medicines and medical treatment, and listed tides, astronomical information, and eclipses calculated by Banneker himself. He published the journal annually from 1791 to 1802.

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