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Thalassologies of Empire and Republic: Competing for knowledge of the South Eastern Pacific in the Age of Revolutions

Gandara-Chacana, Natalia; (2021) Thalassologies of Empire and Republic: Competing for knowledge of the South Eastern Pacific in the Age of Revolutions. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The waters to the south and east of South America came to play increasingly important commercial, geographical, and political roles from the mid-eighteenth century onwards as they crucially connected the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. It was British sailor George Anson’s expedition (1740-44) that opened up this little-known waterscape, dominated by Spanish maritime power since the sixteenth century, to an intense competition for knowledge between the European empires. Moreover, by the late 1700s, the active presence of whalers had transformed this environment into a space of economic exploitation, generating new empirical knowledge about its geography and resources. This thesis explores the varying ways in which this maritime space, to be analysed as the South Eastern Pacific (SEP), became integrated into British, Spanish, and Spanish American systems of knowledge from the 1740s to the 1840s. By examining a wide range of primary sources, from manuscript documents including geographical reports and maps, to published texts such as newspapers, periodicals and scientific journals, it argues that the production of knowledge about the SEP became strategic for imperial and nation-building processes during the Age of Revolutions. This thesis’s chapters address how imperial rivalries shaped knowledge production and how the commodification of the oceans impacted the transfer of knowledge, assessing the changes and continuities brought about by the dissolution of the Spanish Empire and the emergence of Chile as a nation-state. It also examines the ways in which knowledge was socially validated, elaborating upon the construction of knowledge as a collective enterprise and emphasising the variety of actors involved, studying traditional figures such as explorers and naturalists, and less-studied actors such as engineers, indigenous sailors, and whalers. By doing so, this thesis contributes new ways of understanding imperial rivalries, the national project of Chile as an emergent republic, and the history of knowledge in Latin America.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Thalassologies of Empire and Republic: Competing for knowledge of the South Eastern Pacific in the Age of Revolutions
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127648
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