Reconnoitring Russia

Mapping, exploring and describing early modern Russia, 1613-1825

Denis J. B. Shaw


ISBN: 9781800085923

Publication: October 01, 2024

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Like many European countries during the Great Age of Discovery and Exploration, Russia embarked on policies of state building, exploration and imperial expansion. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the territory under Moscow’s control was about twenty thousand square kilometres. By 1800 Russia’s empire had expanded to some eighteen million square kilometres. Russia had thus become one of the world’s greatest empires.

By focusing on such geographical practices as exploring, observing, describing, mapping and similar activities, Reconnoitring Russia seeks to explain how Russia’s rulers and its educated public came to know and understand the territory of their expanding state and empire, especially as a result of the modernizing policies of such sovereigns as Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It places the Russian experience into a comparative context, showing how that experience compares with those of other European countries over the same period. The book adopts a broad chronological framework, exploring the age between 1613 when the Romanov dynasty assumed power and 1825, the conclusion of Alexander I’s reign, or what is often termed the end of the ‘long eighteenth century’.

Denis J B Shaw is Honorary Senior Research Fellow and formerly Reader in Russian Geography at the University of Birmingham

Text boxes
Note on transliteration and place names

1 Introduction: geographical endeavour in early modern Russia
2 Russian geographical endeavour before Peter the Great (sixteenth-seventeenth centuries)
3 ‘The Great Designs of the Tsar’: the era of Peter the Great (c. 1694-1725)
4 The post-Petrine period: the Academy of Sciences, the 1745 Atlas and the Great Northern Expedition (1725-1762)
5 The era of Catherine the Great (1762-1796): a new age of imperial expansion
6 Widening horizons: geographical endeavour at the end of the ‘long eighteenth century’ (1796-1825)
7 Conclusion


Format: Hardback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

212 Pages

10 maps and 2 B&W photo/halftones

Copyright: © 2024

ISBN: 9781800085923

Publication: October 01, 2024

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