Magazine article Geographical

L'Exposition Universelle: Edouard Hautecoeur, 1900

Magazine article Geographical

L'Exposition Universelle: Edouard Hautecoeur, 1900

Article excerpt

The 1900 Paris Exposition encompassed the largest fairground in history, spanning 543 acres across prime Parisian locations: the Champ de Mars, the Trocadero, the Esplanade des Invalides, and along the banks of the Seine. The event had a record-breaking number of participants, with 83,000 exhibitors and nearly 50 million visitors during its run from 14 April to 12 November.

Following the success of the 1889 Worlds Fair, which saw the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower as its centrepiece, France (and French engineering especially) was being glorified on the world stage. However, this came under threat in June 1892 when Germany announced plans for an international exposition to be held in 1896. This caused great consternation among French politicians, industrialists and intellectuals, fearing this would position Germany as the pioneers of the new century and allow it to become a greater influence on global matters than France. Driven by pride and unity of purpose, the French government declared, on the eve of Bastille Day in 1892, that France would host its fifth 'international exhibition' in 1900. 'With the exposition of 1900,' the organisers of what would be the fifth Parisian exposition d'universelle wrote, 'we will define the philosophy and express the synthesis of the 19th century.' The resulting positive buzz that stemmed from the announcement saw Germany quickly retracting its announcement, worried that Berlin wouldn't be able to compete with the renewed interest in Paris's efforts.

Many transformational technologies were unveiled at the 1900 Exposition, much of which would shape the course of the 20th century. …

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