Books  General Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel 

Encountering the Pacific in the Age of 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

By: John Gascoigne(Author)

574 pages, 70 b/w illustrations, 12 maps

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Mar 2014 | #216076 | ISBN-13: 9780521879590
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £87.99 $113/€96 approx

About this book

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. Encountering the Pacific in the Age of the Enlightenment 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.


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

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

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