An historical geography of the Nilgiri cinchona plantations, 1860-1900

Veale, Lucy (2010) An historical geography of the Nilgiri cinchona plantations, 1860-1900. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In 1859, the British government launched an expedition to South America with the aim of collecting seeds and plants of the quinine-producing cinchona tree for establishing plantations in British India, so as to relieve the British Government of the escalating costs and uncertainties in the supply of this valuable, and increasingly popular anti-malarial drug.

Drawing on recent work on the commodities of empire, tropical acclimatization, and imperial medicine, this thesis provides a detailed study of the first British cinchona plantations established on the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India. Focused on the period between 1860 and 1900, and at the local geographic scale, the research critically examines the engagement and connections between government officials, planters, venture capitalists, labourers, plant material and ideas in the context of the cinchona plantations through a thorough study of archival and secondary sources. Contributions are also made to the study of the spaces of science and the management of the tropical environment. Cinchona is placed in a wider context of the history of botany and plantations in the Nilgiri region, and the major events in the development of cinchona plantations described.

In the resulting historical geography the Nilgiri cinchona plantations emerge as a 'nodal' point in the global cinchona network that also relied upon global networks of imperial power, capital and leisure tourism. The experiment was essentially an exertion of power but one that also demonstrated the very vulnerable nature of the empire.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Endfield, G.H.
Watkins, C.
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History - General and Old World > DS Asia
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Geography
Item ID: 13041
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2013 13:55
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 18:22

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