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Empire of ExtinctionRussians and the North Pacific's Strange Beasts of the Sea, 1741-1867$
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Ryan Tucker Jones

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199343416

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199343416.001.0001

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Naturalists Plan a North Pacific Empire

Naturalists Plan a North Pacific Empire

(p.102) 3 Naturalists Plan a North Pacific Empire
Empire of Extinction

Ryan Tucker Jones

Oxford University Press

While fur traders hunted down North Pacific animals, natural historians in St. Petersburg such as Peter Simon Pallas tried to implement various plans for transforming the region. Their growing proximity to imperial power, especially the empress Catherine the Great, shaped naturalists’ ideas and gave their plans added power. Agricultural and mercantile schemes largely failed, but hope settled on the abundant products of the sea. At the same time, naturalists were developing an interest in conserving the empire’s natural resources, though they were not yet aware of the environmental catastrophe unfolding in the Aleutian Islands.

Keywords:   Peter Simon Pallas, conservation, environmental catastrophe, Catherine the Great

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