Geographies of an Imperial Power: The British World, 1688-1815

Geographies of an Imperial Power: The British World, 1688-1815

Geographies of an Imperial Power: The British World, 1688-1815

Geographies of an Imperial Power: The British World, 1688-1815

Synopsis

From explorers tracing rivers to navigators hunting for longitude, spatial awareness and the need for empirical understanding were linked to British strategy in the 1700s. This strategy, in turn, aided in the assertion of British power and authority on a global scale. In this sweeping consideration of Britain in the 18th century, Jeremy Black explores the interconnected roles of power and geography in the creation of a global empire. Geography was at the heart of Britain’s expansion into India, its response to uprisings in Scotland and America, and its revolutionary development of railways. Geographical dominance was reinforced as newspapers stoked the fires of xenophobia and defined the limits of cosmopolitan Europe as compared to the "barbarism" beyond. Geography provided a system of analysis and classification which gave Britain political, cultural, and scientific sovereignty. Black considers geographical knowledge not just as a tool for creating a shared cultural identity but also as a key mechanism in the formation of one of the most powerful and far-reaching empires the world has ever known.

Excerpt

Geography, power, world — each is a potent word. What they represented were closely related in the eighteenth century and should be linked in order to offer an account of key developments then. These developments, moreover, are still relevant today, as modern states struggle to understand the contemporary world and to reconcile ideologies, interests, and geopolitics in a world that is globalized. Similarly, as the eighteenth-century world had to adjust to its own possibilities and tensions of globalization, albeit a very different globalization to that of the twenty-first century. Interest in eighteenth-century Britain in developments across the world reflected an awareness of the globalization of that period, and an attempt to adapt to, and mold, this world was central to the geographical awareness of the period. Furthermore, as both experience and perception, geography in the eighteenth century meant even more than it does today, as subsequent technologies of travel that have helped overcome distance, both in reality and in symbolic terms, notably air travel, were still in the future and an aspect of fantasy. in practice, however, geography and geopolitics remain highly significant today, and there has been a recent revival in writing about geopolitics.

This book will probe power in the eighteenth-century British world, its understanding and use, by looking at the spatial character and understanding of this power and of the related power relationships. To adopt a useful modern distinction, this will be done both for hard power, in the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.