In the mid-nineteenth century the eyes of western European explorers were firmly fixed on advancing inland from former maritime colonies in the Americas, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Australasia, their motives often being inextricably bound up with concerns of imperial politics and commerce. Simultaneously, further east, Russians resumed their perceived mission to civilise Asia, following their own country's humiliation during the Crimean War. A key personality in that movement was the Society's librarian and secretary of its physical geography section, P. P. Semenov (1827-1914), a member of a minor gentry family who had been tutored by a pupil of Linnaeus and who had studied under Ritter and von Humboldt at Berlin during a tour of Europe in 1853-4. While presenting a European view of Central Asia before the large-scale influx of Russian peasant settlers that followed the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, a process in which Semenov was also instrumental, his journal of 1856-7 explicitly set out a strategy for imperial expansion that was accomplished within the next three decades, and which in turn laid the foundations for the multi-ethnic agricultural and industrial developments in the region during the Soviet period.
Hardback book in very good condition. Ends of spine bumped. Inner edges of front and back pastedown, discoloured along spine.
Dust jacket in good condition. Ends of spine and corners bumped. Front and back covers rubbed.