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The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763$
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Paul W. Mapp

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833957

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838945_Mapp

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The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763

Paul W. Mapp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the hostilities among western nations that aggravated communicative difficulties and further limited the range of French geographic comprehension. They also restricted the safe movement of both Frenchmen and Indians. These difficulties stand out more sharply when viewed against the backdrop of French cartographers' experiences in France and in the Russian and Chinese empires. In these areas, French investigators received royal or imperial sponsors' support, and they operated within political structures rendering that assistance effectual. We have already seen Louis Delisle de La Croyere traversing Siberia and the North Pacific with the Great Northern Expedition and French Jesuit cartographers crisscrossing China in the service of the Kangxi emperor. Here, lacking the state patronage they enjoyed elsewhere, a primary problem confronting French explorers and cartographers was their inability to cast their eyes on or deploy their instruments in large parts of the region they sought to comprehend.

Keywords:   western nations, communicative difficulties, French geographic comprehension, French cartographers, French investigators

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