The Calcutta Botanic Garden and the Wider World, 1817–46

Mark Harrison

By far the most famous of India's botanical gardens, the Botanic Garden at Calcutta has attracted considerable attention from historians over the last couple of decades, as the history of science has matured within colonial historiography.1 We know a good deal about the development of the garden—particularly in its early years—and about its prominent place within an imperial network of botanical institutions and natural historians. One prominent theme in existing accounts is the growing divergence between the garden's scientifically minded superintendents and the East India Company (EIC), which took a narrowly utilitarian view of its role.2 But the Calcutta garden ...

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