As the British and French empires expanded, constructing new imperial dimensions through growing commerce and the relationships of industrialisation, the bases of Spanish power were being undermined. Nationalism, revolt, the pursuit of forms of decolonisation (often aided by Spain's rivals) became the prime characteristic of Central and South American politics. This book examines the study of natural history in the Spanish empire in the years 1750-1850, explaining how the Spanish authorities collected specimens for the Real Jardín Botanico and the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural. During this period, Spain made strenuous efforts to survey, inventory and exploit the natural productions of her overseas possessions, orchestrating a series of scientific expeditions and cultivating and displaying American fauna and flora in metropolitan gardens and museums. This book assesses the cultural significance of natural history, emphasising the figurative and utilitarian value with which eighteenth-century Spaniards invested natural objects, from globetrotting elephants to three-legged chickens. Attention is also paid to the ambiguous position of Creole (American-born Spanish) naturalists, who were simultaneously anxious to secure European recognition for their work, to celebrate the natural wealth of their homelands. It considers the role of precision instruments, physical suffering and moral probity in the construction of the naturalist's professional identity. The book assesses how indigenous people, women and Creoles measured up to these demanding criteria. Finally, it discusses how the creation, legitimisation and dissemination of scientific knowledge reflected broader questions of imperial power and national identity.
Dakar. Thus it also expands the more ‘traditional’
garden city historiography beyond Britain, Europe and the Western,
mostly Anglophone, hemisphere.
Along with metropolitangarden city developments,
especially in Britain and then in France, the chapter points to
common and diverse themes in the transformation, diffusion and
realisation of ideas of the cité-jardin in French West
. 10 The artist’s handiwork is to make form out
of mere matter. And it is as ‘maker’ that he becomes
most like, as Sidney put it, his ‘heavenly Maker’
Both the ur-scene on the island where Prospero sets
out to re-form the ‘deformed’ Caliban and the ur-scene
in Wilde’s metropolitangarden idyll are versions of the