Robert A. Stafford
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Annexing the landscapes of the past
British imperial geology in the nineteenth century
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Geology, like geography, constituted an exploratory science in the nineteenth century. The trajectory of Joseph Jukes's own career exemplifies the possibilities which empire offered for nineteenth-century British geologists. By the late 1840s, a limited number of professional positions were available for geologists in British imperial service. This development owed much to the precedent established by the foundation of the Geological Survey of Great Britain in 1835, but imperial geology had a longer pedigree. The emphasis on mapping gave geology a uniquely territorial dimension which accorded well with the interests of both landed property and imperialism. The increasing flow of colonial specimens into the Museum of Practical Geology provided a rough index of the pace of British overseas expansion. For more than a century, the Empire constituted a natural hinterland for British geology. Surveying the colonies and exploring beyond the imperial borders greatly expanded the horizons of British geology.

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