Chapter

Conclusion: The Tides of Empire

in Tides of History

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780226709321
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226709338 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226709338.003.0009
Conclusion: The Tides of Empire

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Scientific interest in the ocean followed directly from the growing popular fascination in the late eighteenth century with the natural history and physical topography of the seashore. Beginning in the intertidal zone and then widening their gaze, by the mid-nineteenth century scientists had rendered the oceans not only comprehensible and controllable but also usable for commerce and imperialism. This conclusion examines the incentives that pushed governments to set up networks of observers in terrestrial magnetism, meteorology, and the study of the ocean itself. This move from science practiced in the laboratory to science practiced over the whole globe was a defining feature of nineteenth-century ocean science. This conclusion therefore offers a new perspective from which to view John William Lubbock, William Whewell, and George Biddell Airy's work on the tides, John Herschel's and Robert Fitzroy's work in meteorology, the intense study of the earth's magnetism, the beginning of oceanography, and ultimately the rise and institutionalization of multinational collaborations.

Keywords: oceans; imperialism; magnetism; meteorology; science; William Whewell; George Biddell Airy; tides; John Herschel; oceanography

Chapter.  8098 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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