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Le Sud/The South

Reframing the ‘South’: Divisions of the Globe and British Geographical Imaginations in the Victorian and Edwardian Era

Réorienter le Sud : Divisions du globe et imaginaires géographiques à l'époque victorienne et édouardienne
Daniel Foliard

Résumés

La notion de Sud comme entité économique, culturelle et géographique globale ne s’est imposée que tardivement dans l’imaginaire géographique européen et britannique en particulier. Le monde n’est pas encore systématiquement pensé en ces termes au xixe siècle. La plupart des Atlas publiés à Londres ou à Edimbourg à la fin du xixe siècle et au début du xxe siècle contiennent des cartes d’un monde divisé en hémisphères Est et Ouest. Ce découpage entre Orient et Occident fait écho à des héritages culturels profondément ancrés. Il faut attendre la veille de la Première Guerre mondiale et la conjonction de plusieurs évolutions scientifiques et politiques pour voir la séparation du monde entre Sud et Nord prendre une dimension moins neutre. Plusieurs phénomènes contribuent à ce changement de paradigme, que ce soit l’émergence de la nouvelle géographie de H. Mackinder, l’insistance de l’impérialisme constructif sur la notion de développement, la géopolitisation du regard de l’élite politique sur les affaires internationales ou l’affirmation d’un droit international qui requiert un vocabulaire géographique dénué d’ambiguïtés. Cette communication mettra en valeur, à travers des cartes en particulier, ces évolutions du regard britannique sur le monde et démontrera comment elles ont répondu à de profondes évolutions culturelles et politiques.

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Introduction

1The South, cardinal points and other divisions of the globe should never be taken for granted. Twentieth-century East and West geopolitical distinctions defined during the Cold War became irrelevant after 1991. They acquired renewed significance with the crisis in Ukraine in 2014. Similarly, the recognition of a widening North and South divide in the wake of decolonization seemed so obvious to most people in the 1980s and 1990s that generations of pupils were taught, both in France and in Britain, the explanatory value of such an understanding of the globe. The cover of the 1980 Brandt Report on global inequalities, which showed the North/South limit between the developed and the underdeveloped world, became a new frame of reference (Brandt). Today, this North/South distinction becomes obsolete in its turn as new powers emerge in Asia or South America. Divisions of the globe, which are often taken as rationally elaborated categories, and sometimes even as almost naturalist frameworks, are fundamentally volatile. Dividing the globe into parts as well as locating oneself on the surface of the earth implies choices, projections, categorizations and rationalizations that are far from neutral. Clusters of representations and ideas always underlie these geographical constructions.

2Questioning British and European overall divisions of the globe is therefore a legitimate endeavour for historians. Meta-geographies have been the subject of numerous studies. Denis Cosgrove, Christian Grataloup, or Martin W. Lewis, have already tackled the issue (Lewis and Wigen, Cosgrove, Grataloup). This article is a contribution to this growing literature on spatial frameworks. It sets out to question the relevance of the ‘South’ as a global geographical category in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My contention is that the ‘South’, understood as one of the basic divisions of the earth through which information is preordained on a large scale, was not, in the Victorian and Edwardian age, as significant a category as sometimes claimed. In this regard, John Pemble’s assertion that the ‘South’ was an essential category to the Victorian understanding of the world’s geography is highly questionable and even anachronistic (Pemble).

3By showing how maps and ideas were used to categorize space, I will demonstrate that another far more structuring division presided over the geographical presumptions of most Europeans in the nineteenth century: the imagined longitudinal division between East and West. A new reference frame, based on a nascent North/South distinction, developed in the late Victorian and Edwardian era. I will thus analyze how a new paving of the globe progressively emerged in the age of High Imperialism. I will first underline the inertia of nineteenth-century depictions of the earth and assess the relative relevance of imagined longitudinal and latitudinal partitions of the planet. I will then trace out the birth of new geographical constructs of ‘South’ and ‘North’ from the 1880s on, stemming from the invention of the concept of economic development, anti-imperialist perspectives on the world’s organization and the emergence of international studies.

Dividing the Globe in the Nineteenth Century

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet
R. Kipling, The Ballad of East and West, 1899

4Kipling’s overused line reflects how the European global geographies were still determined by very ancient and deeply-rooted presumptions. To the poet and to many of his contemporaries, ‘East’ and ‘West’ made more sense than ‘North’ and ‘South’ as far as their understanding of the world was concerned. Victorian views on global divisions were far from innovative in that regard. Private School pupils learning their few geography lessons, members of the general public purchasing a cheap atlas, or Members of Parliament consulting an Atlas in a Committee room in Westminster had all something in common in the nineteenth century: very traditional double hemisphere maps dating back to the Renaissance were generally their first impression of what the globe looked like (Ill. 1). It represented the earth in two hemispheres, Eastern and Western, along a longitudinal divide. One of the most popular British atlases of the early twentieth century, Bartholomew’s International Reference Atlas of the World, opened on a traditional stereographic map showing the Eastern and Western hemispheres in its 1912 edition (Bartholomew 1914, map n°1). An archaic and several centuries-old depiction of the sphericity of the earth was still the most common projection used to figure the globe in an age imbued with the optimistic belief in scientific progress.

Ill.1—Double Hemisphere World Map, in Gill’s Oxford and Cambridge Geography (London: Gill, 1886): 12 (droits: D. Foliard)

Ill.1—Double Hemisphere World Map, in Gill’s Oxford and Cambridge Geography (London: Gill, 1886): 12 (droits: D. Foliard)
  • 1 Online version available at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b2100008d.
  • 2 The globular projection was first described by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (973-1048) in his Kitab Al-Tafh (...)
  • 3 See for instance Edward Wells’s New Map of the Terraqueous Globe according to the Ancient Discoveri (...)

5What might seem at first glance a relatively neutral choice of projection is actually revealing of the surprising inertia of Victorian and Edwardian imagined geographies when it came to encompassing the world. World maps in two hemispheres were initially a response to the geographical discoveries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Humanist cartography and cosmography formed new visualizations of the earth, a complete ‘redrawing of the known world’ (Besse 143; Cosgrove 148). Renaissance globular projections of the globe answered the need for a panoptic view of the known world. They first appeared in the early sixteenth century. Franciscus Monachus was one of the first to display a stereographic projection of the earth on the title page of his De Orbis Situ by 1527.1 It was institutionalized in 1587 by Rumold Mercator, Gerardius’ son, and fully described by Jacques Severt in his 1598 sum on map projections (Severt; Snyder 2007).2 This stereographic projection became increasingly popular from the 1590s on; it remained one of the most common modes of visualization of the globe for centuries (Shirley 194). It found its way into English cartography and became a reference projection for seventeenth and eighteenth-century atlases.3 The double hemisphere map departed from medieval worldviews framed by the Bible, Aristotle and Ptolemy. The longitudinal divide that structured this projection was a solution to depict the astonishing enlargement of the world at the time. It emphasized the partition between the Old World and the New World. Where was the limit between the two? The Ferro Meridian, which became France’s Prime Meridian in 1634, was used as the dividing line between the two hemispheres in many maps but it coexisted with a wide array of other prime meridians.

  • 4 Digitized copies of these maps are available online at www.davidrumsey.com.

6The progressive exploration of the globe from Europe, West of the Eastern hemisphere, to the Americas in the Western hemisphere, determined how Europeans imagined geographies. Edward Quin’s inventive Historical Atlas, which depicts the expansion of the known world from Herodotus to the industrial age, shows that this was still true in the nineteenth century (Quin).4 The Ptolemaic description of the oecumene from West to East, and the Columbian unveiling of the earth from the Old World to the New World in the West, shaped Europe’s grasp on the globe. The world was structured along longitudinal divisions, first between Eurasia’s East and its Western parts, and between the Eastern and the Western hemispheres after the great discoveries of the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

7This traditional depiction of the globe endured well after the participants at the Washington Conference adopted the Greenwich Meridian in 1884 arbitrarily demarcating the Eastern and Western hemispheres for decades to come. Dozens of European atlases printed antiquated stereographic maps of the globe that did not use the new meridian as a reference line in the late nineteenth century. Renaissance projections survived most attempts at renovating the representation of the globe. The classical Mercator projection remained the most common choice despite the invention of more than 290 new projections in the nineteenth century according to J. P. Snyder (Snyder 1993). Innovative projections rarely found their way into commercial cartography and atlases. In addition, very few atlases applied the more historically neutral South and North division in two hemispheres. There are of course instances of double hemispheres maps of that type in the documentation, but this projection usually remained confined to the realms of biology, geology or climatology. Generations of mapmakers endlessly reproduced the canonical depiction of the globe in two hemispheres along the Ferro Meridian, and with one obvious consequence: ‘East’ and ‘West’ were far more significant categories to the Victorian observer of the world than ‘North’ and ‘South’.

8Various factors might explain the persistence of the East/West paradigm. I shall underline two of the most relevant explanations. First, it should be noted that nineteenth-century mapmakers did not always privilege innovation. For technical and commercial reasons, they were not always as modern as one would think. Creating new printing plates and engraved stones was very expensive. Prominent cartographers were careful not to spend money on new maps or new projections that might prove commercially unsuccessful as a consequence. There are numerous examples of endless reuses of old plates by the most prominent mapmakers in London. James Wyld the Elder (1790–1836) bought William Faden’s stock of plates in 1823. Faden had been Royal Geographer to George III. More than forty years later, Wyld the Elder’s son, then a successful commercial mapmaker, was still using some of Faden’s eighteenth-century plates to cut costs. Enduring echoes of eighteenth-century cartography were therefore everywhere to be found in the supposedly more accurate mapmaking of the mid-nineteenth century. Cost constraints combined with the supposed inertia of the buyers’ expectations favoured cartographic conservatism. A second line of explanation lies in the nature of what little geography was taught in the very unequal British educational system before the 1870 Forster Act. There is little doubt that nineteenth-century geographical conceptions were intrinsically conservative because of what was taught in schools. The education of the Victorian upper class, for instance, heavily relied on classics such as Herodotus or Strabo whose geographies were built on differentiations between East and West. Even modern references such as Gibbon favoured the conservative clusters of representations which favoured Eastern and Western divisions.

9Did it mean that the South, considered as a meta-geographical category, was completely irrelevant? A North and South division pervaded some classical writings such as the popular Vitruvius and more importantly, Aristotle’s climatic theories, which were often referred to in nineteenth-century geographical literature (Johnson 90–91). Aristotle divided the globe into five climatic zones, with the oecumene bounded by a proto-arctic circle in the North and a tropic circle in the South. These theories were still very popular in the nineteenth century. They underpinned James Cowles Pritchard’s racial theories: ‘it is well known that climates give rise to a considerable difference in the period of puberty, which is much more early in hot than in cold countries, in the same races of people . . . there is also a considerable variation dependent on the habits of society’ (Prichard 130). Such an understanding of the geography of human life along a latitudinal divide was not uncommon. It derived from an almost uninterrupted chain of environmentalist theories dating back to Greek and Roman Antiquity (Mitchell and Collinson). Scripture offered believers another guide to the world’s geographical organization based on a latitudinal divide. For the author of The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, the nations formed ‘three geographical groups, the northern nations (Japheth), the southern nations (Ham), the middle nations (Shem)’ (Rumby 109). A last example of the coexistence of longitudinal and latitudinal orderings of the world is to be found in the mid-Victorian age. James Wyld made pioneering attempts at modernizing the North/South perspective in 1851 by means of his Giant Globe. A prominent mapmaker and an entrepreneur, Wyld built an unrivalled Great Globe in Leicester Square in the early 1850s. The crowds attending the Great Exhibition could tour the world for a shilling thanks to his attraction. Wyld used his georama to question what he thought were ‘antiquated divisions’ (Wyld 3). The public entered the Great Globe and descended stairs from North to South. For Wyld, this was an opportunity to see the earth as it really was: ‘it is customary to consider the globe or sphere as divided in two hemispheres . . . of which that containing the Old World . . . is called the Eastern Hemisphere, and that containing the New World, the Western Hemisphere . . . in the Great Model Globe, these artificial distinctions cease to be of importance’. Wyld’s hope that a modernized worldview would replace obsolete divisions was overly optimistic; many indications seem to show that East/West geographical patterns prevailed well into the industrial age.

10The analysis of the frequency distribution of commonplace geographical phrases in nineteenth-century British newspapers is evidence of these continuities. The comparison between the occurrences of ‘Eastern’ or ‘Western Nations’ and those of ‘Southern’ or ‘Northern Nations’ in these periodicals clearly demonstrates that Victorian mental maps were not very innovative in that regard (ill. 2). ‘East’ and ‘West’ still were the most common categories to grasp the human geography on a global scale. Despite Britain’s specific interest in the ‘nations’ and seas of the Southern hemisphere (from Cook’s exploration of the Pacific onwards), humanity was still categorized along an East/West divide in the nineteenth century (Hawkesworth). There were of course references to climatic distinctions between North and South to grasp the diversity of the world’s populations. The concept of ‘Southern Temper’ was quite common in the nineteenth century, as noted by John Pemble (Pemble 143). It differed from the ‘Northern Temper’ described in an article on King Harold published in The North British Review as ‘wary, naturally unbending and yet ever yielding when it was right to yield’ (Anon., 521). Yet, as far as tempers and geography-based stereotypes were concerned, the East/West divide was far more relevant to prominent intellectuals such as John Ruskin for instance. The writer often underlined used references to this dichotomy in his works. In The Stones of Venice, he confronted ‘the repose of the Eastern, and activity of the Western, mind’ explaining later on that in ‘the Oriental mind a peculiar seriousness is associated with this attribute of the love of color . . . as contrasted with the activity, and consequent capability of surprise, and of laughter, characteristic of the Western mind’ (Ruskin 111).

Ill. 2—Phrase frequency distribution in nineteenth-century British Newspapers (Gale database), 1851-1900 (droits: D. Foliard)

Ill. 2—Phrase frequency distribution in nineteenth-century British Newspapers (Gale database), 1851-1900 (droits: D. Foliard)
  • 5 See the frontispiece in particular.

11These longitudinal classifications worked at different scales, both within the Eastern hemisphere and for the world in its entirety. European geographical imaginations and cartographic traditions drew heavily on the so-called ‘doctrine of the two spheres’ which separated the world into distinct areas of international law (Savelle and Fisher). According to this understanding of the globe, the European diplomatic framework did not apply to the New World. The Treaty of Madrid (1750) between Spain and Portugal specifically stated that war between the two kingdoms in America did not mean war in Europe, within the sphere of amity. Diplomatic debates of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries had established a different legal regime for the Western hemisphere (Steele 189–210). Hobbes in particular substantiated this vision in his De Cive with far-reaching consequences on geographical presumptions in Britain (Hobbes).5 For Hobbes, the Old World was encompassed within an ordered legal framework whereas the Amerindian New World was in a legal and diplomatic state of nature (Moloney). This demarcation survived the eighteenth century despite British attempts at expanding the European treaty system to North America. It is not surprising to observe, then, that when most nineteenth-century English-speaking writers used the phrase ‘in both hemispheres’ to describe the globe, they had the Old world and the New in mind. Yet, this imagined demarcation slowly waned with the expansion of high imperialism and its emphasis on imperial unity regardless of the old lines.

New Projections: Reinventions of the South in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

12North/South divisions gradually took over East/West categorizations in the twentieth century. This process actually predates post-colonial reframings of the world’s geography. The study of its genealogy shows that the changing nature of British and European imperialisms called for an overhaul in geographical reference frame. New dividing lines developed as the last two decades of the nineteenth century witnessed a profound shift in the way Britain and European colonial powers related to the outside world. The words and ideas used to describe the British Empire and the nature of its global influence became distinctly different from the rhetoric and concepts of the mid-Victorian age. Cartographic practices mirrored and substantiated these evolutions.

  • 6 The first uses of the phrase in Parliamentary debates date back to the 1880s. See for instance HC D (...)

13This shift may be traced back to the emergence of the concept of development in the late nineteenth century. It found its origins in the new imperialistic stances, such as constructive imperialism, which emerged from the 1870s onwards in Britain (Cain). Palmerstonian ideals of a liberal and decentralized empire came under attack in the late nineteenth century. By the early 1880s, various pressure groups, such as the Imperial Federation League (founded in 1884) promoted the implementation of cohesion policies between Britain and the white dominions. Social Darwinists advocated the creation of a ‘Greater Britain’ that could offset the growing global competition of the late nineteenth century (Kramer, Bell). Some imperial persuaders went even further. Tariff reformers and the promoters of constructive imperialism fostered a new rhetoric (Thompson). They put forward the notion of imperial economic development in particular—it was definitely established by the early twentieth century (Seeley 3).6 Emphasis on efficient economic policies on the scale of the Empire consequently found its way into cartography. Graphic representations of global economic differences reflected these new concerns in the context of the British geographical awakening of the mid-1880s (Avila). The increasing influence of the ‘new geography’, which consisted in the professionalization of the field as well as in systematic approach to geographical education, played its part (Hudson). By the late nineteenth century, Britain, like most European countries, was becoming a ‘map-immersed society’ where changing representations of the world could considerably alter geographical imaginations (Wood 37).

  • 7 The indicators were: climatic phenomena, natural communications, natural resources, exterior trade (...)

14Arthur Silva White, a staunch supporter of a Britannic Confederation, was one of the first to apply cartography to the illustration of this imperial project, which promoted colonial unity between Britain and its white dominions (White 1892). He invented a new type of thematic contour lines to visualize entire areas in terms of geo-economy (ill. 3). His ‘chrestographic curves’ showed the ‘progressive value of a given region’ (White 1891). He first used this visualization in a map of Africa published in 1891. White combined six indicators to assess the potential development of a given area.7 Silva White used his chrestographic curves again in a work on Africa in 1892. E. G. Ravenstein, cartographer for the Geographical Magazine, helped him with the project (White 1892). White’s innovative thematic mapping was part and parcel of a wider renovation of the cartography of humanity. The development of the new genre of commercial atlases did much to renovate representations of the world. Their authors favoured Mercator or Gall’s stereographic projections over globular projections. Double hemisphere world maps could not represent global trade and imperial interconnections adequately anymore. Bartholomew’s Commercial Atlas, first published in 1889, is an illustration of these new cartographic practices designed to visualize humankind’s newly established interconnectedness. This process reflected more than just an overhaul in mapmaking; it heralded a slow transformation of geographical imaginations as well. In a way, the success of the transverse Mercator projection of the ellipsoid, which was adopted as a standard in 1919 by the British government, put a visible end to the age of explorations. The unbalanced economic patterns between Northern states and Southern colonial dependencies were now plain to see as well as the systematic interrelations of what had become an enclosed world. One of the best examples of how commercial mapmakers speedily translated this focus on economic development is to be found in Bartholomew’s early twentieth-century atlases. Both the firm’s Historical and Modern Atlas of the British Empire (1905) and School Economic Atlas (1910) included a map entitled Commercial Development of the World (ill. 4) (Bartholomew and Robertson, map n°11; Bartholomew and Lyde 1910, map n°8). It was a testimony to the growing popularity of the concept.

Ill. 3—Arthur Silva White, Comparative Value of African Lands, in A. W. White "On the Comparative Value of African Lands," Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. 7/4 (1891): 191-95. (droits: Institut de Géographie, Sorbonne)

Ill. 3—Arthur Silva White, Comparative Value of African Lands, in A. W. White "On the Comparative Value of African Lands," Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. 7/4 (1891): 191-95. (droits: Institut de Géographie, Sorbonne)

Ill. 4—John Bartholomew and C. Grant Robertson, Commercial Development, in J. Bartholomew, Historical and Modern Atlas of the British Empire (London: Methuen, 1905), map n°8 (droits: BNF)

Ill. 4—John Bartholomew and C. Grant Robertson, Commercial Development, in J. Bartholomew, Historical and Modern Atlas of the British Empire (London: Methuen, 1905), map n°8 (droits: BNF)

15The transformation of the meta-geographical vocabulary reflected another shift in perspective resulting from the birth of international relations (Brotton 337–72). In this burgeoning field, antiquated East/West global divisions had little relevance. By the early twentieth century, the new geography of Harold Mackinder’s ‘Heartland theory’, organized the globe power relationships along latitudinal lines (Mackinder 1904). The cartographic transposition of this understanding of the oecumene had therefore little or nothing to do with the long tradition of presenting the globe in two hemispheres, one for the Old World, one for the New. On this clean slate, Mackinder developed an understanding of the globe’s geopolitics in concentric spheres (ill. 5). This new paving of the globe, and its cartographic expressions, rested on a new focus on geo-economy and development. It contributed to the obsolescence of the old categorizations. After the First World War, Mackinder coined the concept of ‘manpower’, i.e. the idea of ‘fighting strength but also of productivity’ which was a refinement of Silva White’s notion of ‘value’ (Mackinder 1905). This new perspective marked a departure from traditional views on how the world was organized. Mackinder was not alone in questioning them. Alfred Zimmern, who dreamt of a global diplomatic system, emphasized the necessity to take into account the gap between the richest and the poorest states. It is another illustration of the fast-evolving understanding of the underlying principles of the world’s imbalance. Zimmern, a leading figure of the emerging field of International Politics, specifically described the methods of British imperialism as: ‘the result . . . of the contact of individuals and races at different levels of development . . . between the stronger and the weaker’ (Zimmern 382). A set of new paradigms was surfacing. It legitimized the distinction between North and South.

Ill. 5—Halford Mackinder, The World Island, in Halford J. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (London: Constable and company, 1919), fig.16. (droits: Nanterre BDIC)

Ill. 5—Halford Mackinder, The World Island, in Halford J. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (London: Constable and company, 1919), fig.16. (droits: Nanterre BDIC)

16The global strategic and commercial dominance of Europe, and the United Kingdom in particular, favoured the commercialization of new projections. For example, A. K. Johnston’s M.P. Atlas (1906) opened on an oblique azimuthal equidistant projection of one hemisphere centred on London (ill. 6). This projection was first used in 1815 but Britain’s global hegemony gave this north-oriented image of the world renewed significance in the early twentieth century (Snyder 1993, 101). It positioned the United Kingdom in the centre of expanding trade and geostrategic networks.

Ill. 6—A. K. Johnston, Bathy-Orographical Hemisphere with London as Centre, in A. K. Johnston, The M.P. Atlas (London: Johnston, 1906), frontispice (droits: BNF)

Ill. 6—A. K. Johnston, Bathy-Orographical Hemisphere with London as Centre, in A. K. Johnston, The M.P. Atlas (London: Johnston, 1906), frontispice (droits: BNF)

17Critics of Empire were also instrumental in furthering these new perspectives on the imbalance of the world’s human geography. J. A. Hobson noted that the most significant distinction to be made was the one ‘between the tropical and the non-tropical colonies . . . their political bearing rests upon the fact that the new Imperialism is perforce driven more and more into the annexation and administration of tropical countries’ (Hobson 27). There again, the newly found validity of North/South divisions of the globe was substantiated by an innovative analysis of international relations.

  • 8 See for instance the Neutrality Act 1939.
  • 9 See statistics on crops in Commercial Department of the Board of Trade, The Board of Trade Journal (...)

18These evolving geographical categories not only echoed the development of geopolitics and geo-strategy in the Edwardian era, but they also demonstrated the rise of an international legal order. In the wake of the Scramble for Africa, diplomacy demanded a clarification of the geographical nomenclature. The old divisions of the globe could not accurately describe the growing complexity of international relations and help their codification. A variety of new appellations became progressively instrumental in these redefinitions, such as ‘Central Asia’ and the ‘Middle East’. The Eastern and Western hemispheres progressively lost the legal authority they inherited from the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Their definitions varied and they could not reasonably be used as basic nomenclature in international agreements. The Western and Eastern Hemispheres were nonetheless used by U.S. diplomacy well into the twentieth century. The Monroe doctrine established these geographical entities for decades to come.8 It took the first attempts at international cooperation to favour what seemed a neutral division of the globe. The plan of sheets for the international map of the world (the ‘Millionth Map’) was rationally divided into South and North hemispheres for instance (Robic 29). It also became standard for international statistics to be organized along these lines. For obvious climatic reasons, the Board of Trade divided its figures on global agriculture between the Southern and Northern hemispheres by the 1910s.9 The international trade of cotton, rubber and wheat did not follow the old divisions of the world anymore. The first globalization’s geo-economic imperatives began to reshape presumptions well before the second half of the twentieth century witnessed the popularization of the North/South divide.

Conclusion

19The cultural constructs of North and South had some relevance in the Victorian/Edwardian age, but far less than longitudinal divisions of the earth. It took British and European geographies decades to depart from sixteenth and seventeenth-century East/West demarcations despite the imperial globalization which Britain presided over in the nineteenth century. The first traces of modernized conceptualization of the ‘South’ emerged in the late nineteenth century when the promoters of the ‘new geography’ and the inventors of geopolitics designed advanced tools to understand the world (be they new spatial categories, evolving Empire-related divisions of the globe or modernized cartographic rhetoric). From that perspective, the genealogy of the late twentieth century North/South divide can be traced back to the late Victorian period when poverty-environment interactions and the unification of the world under the first globalization began to attract scholarly interest.

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Notes

1 Online version available at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b2100008d.

2 The globular projection was first described by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (973-1048) in his Kitab Al-Tafhim written in 1029 but it exerted no influence on European geography.

3 See for instance Edward Wells’s New Map of the Terraqueous Globe according to the Ancient Discoveries and most general Divisions of it into Continents and Oceans, Oxford, 1700, Hand Colored, 20 x 14.5 inches (Yale University Library, call number: Cross 11 1701).

4 Digitized copies of these maps are available online at www.davidrumsey.com.

5 See the frontispiece in particular.

6 The first uses of the phrase in Parliamentary debates date back to the 1880s. See for instance HC Deb 17 September 1886 vol. 309 c779.

7 The indicators were: climatic phenomena, natural communications, natural resources, exterior trade and commerce, indigenous political conditions and foreign political conditions, including capacity for development of European institutions.

8 See for instance the Neutrality Act 1939.

9 See statistics on crops in Commercial Department of the Board of Trade, The Board of Trade Journal 93 (1916): 377.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Ill.1—Double Hemisphere World Map, in Gill’s Oxford and Cambridge Geography (London: Gill, 1886): 12 (droits: D. Foliard)
URL http://cve.revues.org/docannexe/image/2486/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 1,4M
Titre Ill. 2—Phrase frequency distribution in nineteenth-century British Newspapers (Gale database), 1851-1900 (droits: D. Foliard)
URL http://cve.revues.org/docannexe/image/2486/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 96k
Titre Ill. 3—Arthur Silva White, Comparative Value of African Lands, in A. W. White "On the Comparative Value of African Lands," Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. 7/4 (1891): 191-95. (droits: Institut de Géographie, Sorbonne)
URL http://cve.revues.org/docannexe/image/2486/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 744k
Titre Ill. 4—John Bartholomew and C. Grant Robertson, Commercial Development, in J. Bartholomew, Historical and Modern Atlas of the British Empire (London: Methuen, 1905), map n°8 (droits: BNF)
URL http://cve.revues.org/docannexe/image/2486/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 744k
Titre Ill. 5—Halford Mackinder, The World Island, in Halford J. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (London: Constable and company, 1919), fig.16. (droits: Nanterre BDIC)
URL http://cve.revues.org/docannexe/image/2486/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 866k
Titre Ill. 6—A. K. Johnston, Bathy-Orographical Hemisphere with London as Centre, in A. K. Johnston, The M.P. Atlas (London: Johnston, 1906), frontispice (droits: BNF)
URL http://cve.revues.org/docannexe/image/2486/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 883k
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Référence électronique

Daniel Foliard, « Reframing the ‘South’: Divisions of the Globe and British Geographical Imaginations in the Victorian and Edwardian Era », Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens [En ligne], 83 Printemps | 2016, mis en ligne le 30 juin 2016, consulté le 21 octobre 2017. URL : http://cve.revues.org/2486 ; DOI : 10.4000/cve.2486

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Auteur

Daniel Foliard

Daniel Foliard est maître de conférences à l’université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense et membre du laboratoire CREA. Ses recherches portent sur l’histoire de l’empire britannique, en particulier sur les savoirs en situation coloniale. Il travaille actuellement à la publication d’un ouvrage sur l’invention du Moyen-Orient au début du vingtième siècle.


Daniel Foliard is a lecturer at Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense University and a member of the CREA research unit. His research focuses on the history of the British Empire, and more specifically on science and knowledge in a colonial context. He is currently finalizing a book on the invention of the Middle East in the early twentieth century.

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Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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