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Purposes of Early 19th-century Russian Imperial Cartography

Purposes of Early 19th-century Russian Imperial Cartography

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter Three Purposes of Early 19th-century Russian Imperial Cartography
Source:
Mapping Europe's Borderlands
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226744278.003.0004

This chapter examines the European imperial agendas of Russian geospatial practices. It looks at how cartographers in European Russia territorialized former Poland–Lithuania within an expanded empire, from the last partition in 1795 to the establishment of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society in 1845. The lands of Poland–Lithuania and Ukraine became grounds for rossiiskii (imperial and state) as well as russkii (historical, national, and ethnolinguistic) claims, often at the expense of Sweden, Poland–Lithuania, the Cossack Hetmanate, and the Ottoman Porte. Triautocratic partitioning powers treated lands they acquired as a laboratory for empire in which their civilization could be extended and administrative loyalties had to be secured. Orthodox aristocratic elites in Little Russia (Ukraine) and the eastern ramparts of the Grand Duchy were co-opted in their sympathies toward Russia. Populations in newly designated provinces were marked by confession and language, despite having mixed origins. Unrepresented rural peoples speaking languages or “dialects” had few means of resisting state-sponsored grids and acts of taxonomic sorting carried out in censuses and expressed through statistical compilations. Military cartographers, bureaucrats, and academic geographers aimed to modernize and retain the rossiiskii state's geopolitical legitimacy from the Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas.

Keywords:   European imperial agenda, imperialism, cartographers, Poland–Lithuania, land partitioning, rossiskii

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