Exploration and Encounter: The Early Phase

Deepak Kumar

in Science and the Raj

Second edition

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195687149
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081684 | DOI:
Exploration and Encounter: The Early Phase

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The late eighteenth century was an exciting time for the colonizers, who wanted to gather the maximum possible information about India as well as its people and resources. A number of travelogues and tracts appeared, including those of John Capper, F. Buchanan, Hugh Murray, G. R. Wallace, M. Martin, R. Heber, J.M. Honigberger, and M. Jacquemont. These writers faithfully reported not only what was best in India's natural resources and technological traditions, but also what could be the most advantageous to their employers. This chapter examines how colonial science began in India, and how it gradually matured with the help of surveys, educational bodies, scientific societies, and interlocutors (both indigenous and foreign). The Scots and the Danes formed a substantial body of the early botanists and zoologists, followed by a second group of ‘scientists’ that included the early meteorologists, geologists, and astronomers. The surveyors were the forerunners of scientific exploration.

Keywords: colonial science; India; surveys; scientists; surveyors; scientific exploration; interlocutors

Chapter.  17456 words. 

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