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W. D. Cooley, the RGS and African Geography in the Nineteenth Century: Part I: Cooley's Contribution to the Geography of Eastern Africa

R. C. Bridges
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 142, No. 1 (Mar., 1976), pp. 27-47
Published by: geographicalj
DOI: 10.2307/1796021
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1796021
Page Count: 23
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W. D. Cooley, the RGS and African Geography in the Nineteenth Century: Part I: Cooley's Contribution to the Geography of Eastern Africa
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Abstract

W. D. Cooley's merits as a geographer, and even his founding of the Hakluyt Society, have been largely forgotten. He is noticed, if at all, as the most notorious of the 'armchair geographers' who 'corrected' the information obtained by the great nineteenth century explorers of Africa. The early part of his life and the principal controversies in which he engaged over East African questions are reviewed in this first part of a study of the man whom the official history of the Society dubs 'a somewhat erratic genius'. Part II will attempt to explain his attitudes, assess his merits and place him in the history of the development of geographical scholarship in this country.

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