Exploring Terra Australis
Peter Monteath recalls what happened when two explorers, whose nations were battling for supremacy, met on the other side of the world.
Two centuries ago Napoleon Bonaparte held much of Europe in thrall. He was not yet Emperor – that came in 1804 – but even as a military commander and then as First Consul, Napoleon had elevated France to a formidable military power and prime rival of the British, with whom he was engaged in a deadly and enduring battle for continental, if not global, dominance. In the midst of this bitter rivalry, Napoleon approved the sending of a voyage of discovery to the other side of the world to explore the still partly uncharted waters of Terra Australis. The British, who already had a colony at Port Jackson (near modern-day Sydney), and who knew of French interests in the region, decided to do the same.
This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.
Please choose one of these options to access this article:
- Purchase an online subscription
- Purchase a print and online subscription
- If you are already a print subscriber, purchase the online archive upgrade
Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.
If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
- Central America
- Early Modern
- 20th Century
- Economic History
- Environmental History
- Food & Drink
- Historical Memory
- Science & Technology