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Bernhard Varenius' Geographia Generalis And The Rise Of Modern Geographical Studies In Russia

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Chapter Summary

The publication in Russia of Bernhard Varenius' Geographia Generalis in 1718 was a significant step in the introduction of geography as a scientific enterprise in that country and an important contribution to Peter the Great's campaign to modernize his realm. This chapter aims to place the book's publication into its historical context, suggest some possible reasons for its perceived importance to the ruler of Russia, and consider some of the ramifications of its appearance. Before turning to consider the immediate context for the publication of Varenius' book in Russia, the chapter mentions two other aspects of pre-Petrine geographical endeavour: (1) the translation into Russian of a number of foreign works of scientific significance; and (2) the expeditionary work. Varenius not only underpinned the practical emphasis which lay at the heart of Petrine geography, but helped open Russian eyes to the modern way of viewing and explaining the world.

Keywords:Bernhard Varenius; Geographia Generalis; modern geographical studies; Petrine geography; Russia



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