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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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Scientific Exploration and Empire

Scientific Exploration and Empire

(p.294) 14 Scientific Exploration and Empire
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century

Robert A. Stafford

Oxford University Press

Throughout the nineteenth century, Britain sustained a programme of scientific exploration linked directly with her Imperial and trading interests. It played an important role both in shaping and expressing her culture. Although official commitment to exploration remained sporadic and efforts were rarely systematic, the continuity of British exploration is striking, and its purpose and style remained remarkably consistent. A discussion on the organization of exploration is offered. It also examines the styles, methods, and impacts of the explorers. Exploration and the British Empire sprang from the same motives and mutually supported each other in defining, exploiting, and acquiring territory. Yet during the Victorian heyday of British expansion, science and Empire reached their most perfect congruence in the activity of exploration, an acquisitive quest for knowledge that conferred power over new territories while sculpting metropolitan culture to support its use.

Keywords:   trading interests, scientific exploration, British expansion, science, metropolitan culture, explorers, territory

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