Helen Cowie
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers, accordingly, how location mediated the study of natural history in Spain and its empire. It explores scientific practice in a range of different places, from the metropolitan natural history cabinet and botanical garden to the Andean sierra and the Amazonian jungle, discussing the advantages and constraints offered by different spaces. The book also studies the ambivalent position of Spanish American naturalists in the wider scientific project, highlighting differences between the metropolitan and colonial approaches to natural history. It focuses on the Atlantic to examine the practice of natural history in Spain's American colonies. The book also considers the imperial dynamics of Spain's engagement with natural history, examining how the Spanish authorities collected specimens for the Real Jardín Botanico and the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural.

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