Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was born into an upper-class British family in Florence, Italy. She was named after the city of her birth. The family moved back to London when Florence was a young girl and, despite her parents wishes, decided to become a nurse in 1845.

Nightingale was working as a nurse in Harley Street, London, when the Crimean War began in 1854. After reading reports about the poor treatment of sick and injured soldiers, she travelled to the Crimea (Eastern Europe) to assist in and reform the crowded, dirty hospitals.

At the hospital in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey, Nightingale noticed soldiers died more often from diseases than from their injuries. She appealed to the British government to provide better conditions for sick and injured soldiers. While working in the Crimea she became known as 'The Lady with the Lamp' because she often walked around the hospital at night while carrying a lamp to check on the soldiers.

When Nightingale returned to England in 1860, she founded a school for nurses at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. She also wrote the book 'Notes on Nursing', which focused on hygiene as much as medical instruction.

Florence Nightingale is considered to be the pioneer of modern nursing. In 1907, she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit by King Edward VII.

More Info: en.m.wikipedia.org