Capitale savante, capitale coloniale : sciences et savoirs coloniaux à Paris aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles

Abstract : Between the early years of the seventeenth century and the end of the eighteenth century, Paris, though not a sea port, gained more importance with regard to the organization and management of the French colonial space, thus relegating French Atlantic ports to a operational peripheries, largely dependent on the capital of the kingdom. Merchants in port towns, private ship owners and sailors, in the wake of sixteenth century practices, remained decisive agents of colonial development overseas, but the places of power and knowledge - two key factors in the colonial project - took root in Paris. From the 1750s, at a time when a number of French colonies which proved long-lived were established overseas, Parisian cartographers and certain learned circles in the capital tended to play a significant role in gathering, analyzing and spreading information coming from those new territories; but it was under Colbert’s impulse, in the following decades, that prestigious Paris learned institutions were developed by the monarchy and tightly linked to government institutions (Jardin du roi, Académie royale des sciences, Observatoire royal, etc.) thus contributing to make Paris— then and for a long time— the real cultural and learned capital of the French colonial enterprise.
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Francois Regourd. Capitale savante, capitale coloniale : sciences et savoirs coloniaux à Paris aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Revue d'Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, Societe D'histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, 2008, 55-2 (2), pp.121-151. ⟨10.3917/rhmc.552.0121⟩. ⟨hal-01656833⟩

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