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Topic: Over the horizon
Over the horizon
Throughout history the societies that have grown and prospered have often been those that were willing and able to explore – and often exploit – other lands, people and resources. Explorers have opened up the ‘unknown’ places of the world, paving the way for changes in culture, society and technology. Geopolitical expansion has always been a means to maintain and promote a perceived national and cultural pre-eminence and exploration has often been used to justify expansionist policies. Many explorers have come in the form of individuals who, while seeking out new lands and new resources, have had a huge impact on the peoples and the places they interacted with. These different people and their worlds are as much a part of the history of exploration as are grand figures like Captain Cook or Marco Polo. This topic looks at three ways in which exploration has been used as a means of control. First as a way of gaining control over land, second to get access to resources and third the kidnapping of native people by explorers.
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Topic: Controlling space
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Maps are powerful political tools, revealing what is known and what remains unknown. Filling in and naming the ‘blanks’ on the map becomes an invitation to explore, influence and ultimately control, turning space into territory and legitimising a conqueror’s rights to it.  > more

Topic: Controlling resources
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Exploration is not just a matter of finding new lands or encountering unknown ethnic groups. Many prospectors are looking for mineral riches such as gold, diamonds or oil. Other explorers follow, and these groups have an enormous impact on the environment and indigenous people.  > more

Topic: Controlling people
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Explorers have seized indigenous people to act as guides into unknown regions, as human trophies, as scientific evidence, or even as potential subjects of social experimentation. The number of people cruelly kidnapped by explorers will never be known.  > more
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