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Encountering the Pacific in the Age of the Enlightenment


  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521879590

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About the Authors
  • The Pacific Ocean was the setting for the last great chapter in the convergence of humankind from across the globe. Driven by Enlightenment ideals, Europeans sought to extend control to all quarters of the earth through the spread of beliefs, the promotion of trade and the acquisition of new knowledge. This book surveys the consequent encounters between European expansionism and the peoples of the Pacific. John Gascoigne weaves together the stories of British, French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian voyages to destinations throughout the Pacific region. In a lively and lucid style, he brings to life the idealism, adventures and frustrations of a colourful cast of historical figures. Drawing upon a range of fields, he explores the complexities of the relationships between European and Pacific peoples. Richly illustrated with historical images and maps, this seminal work provides new perspectives on the significance of European contact with the Pacific in the Enlightenment.

    • The book is divided into three parts - European contact with the Pacific until the outbreak of the Seven Years War in 1756; the epic age of discovery from 1763 until the French Revolution in 1789; and the period from 1789 until the beginning of the Napoleonic Empire in 1804
    • Each part features a detailed chronology and is constructed around the central themes of empire, wealth, belief and knowledge
    • The book provides a new perspective on the significance of contact with the Pacific in the age of the Enlightenment
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… excellent …' Rainer F. Buschmann, Bulletin of the Pacific Circle

    'Encountering the Pacific is a grand work, both ambitious and understated, dense and detailed, yet also concise and even schematic. It is certainly a sort of magnum opus by a prolific scholar noted for his works on the histories of science, religion, and exploration - all very much at the heart of this tome - a compendium of an author's thinking over an extended career: sweeping narratives newly imagined, yet with an almost 'old-fashioned' episodic story quality.' Matt Matsuda, The International Journal of Maritime History

    'Encountering the Pacific in the Age of the Enlightenment makes an important contribution and will be an important resource for historians of science and others who work on the region.' Coll Thrush, Isis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521879590
    • length: 574 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 35 mm
    • weight: 0.99kg
    • contains: 70 b/w illus. 12 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the peopling of the Pacific
    Part I. Global Convergences: The Pacific and a Wider World to the End of the Seven Years War (1756–63):
    2. Exploration, empire and encounter
    3. Belief
    4. Wealth
    5. Knowledge
    Part II. Completing the Globe: Charting the Pacific, 1763 to the Eve of the French Revolution:
    6. Exploration, empire and encounter
    7. Belief
    8. Wealth
    9. Knowledge
    Part III. Tightening Global Ties: The Pacific from the French Revolution to the Beginning of the Napoleonic Empire, 1789–1804:
    10. Exploration, empire and encounter
    11. Belief
    12. Wealth
    13. Knowledge
    14. Conclusion: a common humanity?
    15. Epilogue.

  • Author

    John Gascoigne, University of New South Wales, Sydney
    John Gascoigne is Scientia Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of New South Wales.

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