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Tides of HistoryOcean Science and Her Majesty's Navy$
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Michael S. Reidy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226709321

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226709338.001.0001

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Introduction: The Littoral in Science and History

Introduction: The Littoral in Science and History

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: The Littoral in Science and History
Source:
Tides of History
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226709338.003.0001

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the British learned to manage the oceans; in the second half, they ruled over large portions of the oceans' rims. Extending their reconnaissance from the littoral outward, the British Admiralty, maritime community, and scientific elite collaborated to bring order to the world's seas, estuaries, and rivers. Rather than a history of tidal theory, this book is a history of British scientific culture during the transition from industrialization to empire, when understanding the sea became important politically, economically, and strategically. The history of tidal research in Britain also highlights the role of science in projecting power to distant lands, the essence of nineteenth-century imperialism. This book analyzes the legal claim made by Joseph Foss Dessiou against the proprietors of the Nautical Almanac and discusses the multinational tidal experiments of 1834 and 1835 to demonstrate the collaborative nature of research in physical astronomy. It also discusses William Whewell's approach to the study of the tides as a spatial science.

Keywords:   oceans, littoral, tidal theory, William Whewell, science, British Admiralty, imperialism, Joseph Foss Dessiou, physical astronomy, Nautical Almanac

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