Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Traverse surveys and the geographical construction of British Guiana, 1803-1844
Author: Burnett, D. G.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
This thesis examines the geographical construction of the colony of British Guiana, with emphasis on the early years of British rule: 1803-1844. I focus on the work of several explorers who made traverse surveys in the region. My aim is to understand both what they did and how what they did helped to codify a colonial territory. Though the early nineteenth century was a critical episode in the spatial history of the colony - seeing the first British-commissioned interior reconnaissance and the completion of surveys by the Crown-sponsored British Guiana Boundary Commission - I situate this period in the context of two other essential moments: Sir Walter Raleigh's El Dorado entradas, key points of reference for later explorers; and the late-century boundary arbitrations, which consolidated the colony's disputed limits. The study focuses on the geographical explorations made by Sir Robert Schomburgk between 1835-1839 (in the service of the Royal Geographical Society) and 1841-1844 (on a Crown commission). The maps, images, and narratives he produced constituted the foundation for the nineteenth-century British image of British Guiana. These texts described the landscape and inhabitants, installed landmarks that came to stand for the interior of British Guiana, and linked these landmarks on maps that established the boundaries of British territory. I am interested in the process out of which these representations emerged. This means I am concerned with the exigencies of a particular form of geographical labour: the nineteenth-century traverse survey of a South American "terra incognita". I argue that the traverse survey constituted a problematic source of geographical knowledge because it was inextricably entangled with a solitary and subjective explorer on a nomadic passage across difficult terrain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available