Mapping the Liberal Impulse: The Primacy of Cartography in the Hudson's Bay Company's Imperial Project, 1749-1857

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Chiarello, Michael Cesare




This thesis presents three case studies that illustrate the nature of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s (HBC) imperial project and how it was guided by liberal impulses and a desire to attain geographic knowledge. There is a specific focus on how spaces were mapped, conceptualized, and rationalized from native, to fur trade, and finally as settler space. Emphasizing the early surveying projects of the interior of Rupert’s Land (1749-1805), the establishment of the Red River Settlement (1804-1820), and the 1857 British Parliamentary Inquiry of the HBC, this thesis argues that the desire to seek
geographical knowledge was born from an enlightenment yearning to advance scientific understanding of geography through cartography, but was ultimately advanced by the HBC as a means to make the spaces of their imperium into ones that were secure, rational, and governable. Map-making projects both defined and ultimately ended HBC’s imperium in Rupert’s Land.


Canadian History




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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