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Following his participation in James Cook's circumnavigation in HMS Endeavour (1768-71), Joseph Banks developed an extensive global network of scientists and explorers. His correspondence shows how he developed effective working links with the British Admiralty and with the generation of naval officers who sailed after Cook. He was familiar with most natural philosophers in Britain and across Europe, many of whom consulted his unrivalled collections of Pacific natural history and ethnology, and who shared specimens and information with him regarding the region. Banks also advised the British government and commercial enterprise in the development of successive ventures to India, the Far East and the Pacific. His career demonstrates how a private individual could influence global exploration in the Georgian era.
Banks's correspondence is one of the great primary sources for studying the Pacific region during this important period of exploration and colonial expansion. His Indian and Pacific correspondence has not previously been published in a fully edited thematic series. This transcribed edition of over 2000 letters uses material from archives around the world. Together with The Scientific Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks 1765-1820, this edition establishes Pickering & Chatto as the field leader in the publication of Joseph Banks's edited papers and ensures that editorial standards are applied consistently across his published papers. It will be important for scholars researching the History of Science, Empire Studies, Eighteenth-Century Studies and Travel Literature.