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Frozen EmpiresAn Environmental History of the Antarctic Peninsula$
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Adrian Howkins

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190249144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190249144.001.0001

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An Imperial Environment

An Imperial Environment

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 An Imperial Environment
Source:
Frozen Empires
Author(s):

Adrian Howkins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190249144.003.0002

In 1908, the British Empire made a formal claim to a large area of unknown territory in the Antarctic Peninsula region, which became known as the “Falkland Islands Dependencies.” This chapter examines how Great Britain constructed the Antarctic Peninsula region as an imperial environment through increasingly systematic assertions of environmental authority. The initial motivation for the British claim was the desire to tax and regulate the nascent Antarctic whaling industry. At around the same time, expeditions from the so-called heroic era of Antarctic exploration set out to conquer Antarctic nature through displays of geographical discovery and adventure. In the aftermath of World War I, British colonial ambition in Antarctica expanded. Britain’s interwar “Discovery Expeditions” sought to produce useful information about whale populations to facilitate improved control of the whaling industry. Although ultimately unsuccessful, these efforts highlight British assertions of environmental authority.

Keywords:   British Empire, Falkland Islands Dependencies, environmental authority, whaling, Discovery Expeditions, heroic era

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