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ShortCut: Botanic gardens as a symbol of colonial conquest

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ShortCut: Botanic gardens as a symbol of colonial conquest

In this article series named ShortCut, I share some interesting and intriguing information elucidating various subjects from the books I have read by making quotes. In this particular article, I wanted to write about how botanic gardens, oddly enough yet not inadvertently, evolved into a symbol of colonial conquest in the 19th century thanks to Joseph Banks.

"Banks superintended an international network of botanic gardens that made this redistribution of the world's crop possible and also extended Britain's power...Banks converted the Royal Gardens into the head office of an international agricultural chain committed to commercial development. For instance, with his help, George III resuscitated the garden in St Vincent to act as a temporary storehouse both for American plants being sent to the Kew and for Asian and Pacific plants being imported to the West Indies. As Banks made clear in his instructions to the superintendent, colonial botanic gardens were important for Britain's economy. By the early 19th century, gardens had become a standard symbol of colonial conquest. As part of his schemes to make tea cheaper for British consumers by growing it India, Banks became intimately involved in proposals to establish a Botanic Garden in Calcutta, and later arranged for it to receive samples of Australian flax(1)."

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Figure - 90.1

References

(1) Fara, Patricia. "Imperialism and Institutions." Sex, Botany & Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks .. London: Icon Books, 2003. 140. Print.

Figure - 90.1 https://www.botanicalartandartists.com/uploads/4/6/6/0/46602337/140905643_orig.jpg