Leading geologist and gentleman of science Roderick Murchison’s words expressed a mapping imperative widely shared by European cultural elites since at least the eighteenth century. From the point of view of an imperial power, ‘spaces yet vacant on the map’ — especially within existing British territories — meant that ‘possession’ was incomplete, that control, if any, still resided with other forces, and that ‘civilisation’ — in the form of Western ‘rationality’ and ‘discipline’ — had yet to be introduced to that region. For Murchison, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) — then still in its infancy — could and should serve as a principal agent for securing such British power, both on land and sea, and above all in ‘filling the void still existing in the southern hemisphere’.
Royal Society National Importance Terrestrial Magnetism East India Company Royal Observatory
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.