Exploration and research
The extensive scientific enquiries undertaken in the wake of Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt and Syria in 1798–99 triggered an unprecedented European fascination with the Arab and Ottoman world. Its multifaceted causes and objectives often combined the scientific curiosity of the Enlightenment with European governments’ need – in the face of accelerating industrialisation and rapidly growing populations – to access and control raw materials, crucial trade routes, new markets and – in some cases – new land for European settlers. Notwithstanding the ideological, economic and political undercurrents of the time, scientific exploration and research made enormous strides in the 19th century as countless expeditions – archaeological, ethnographic, geographical or those devoted to the natural sciences – made available for expert study an unprecedented amount of artefacts, data and specimens.
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Exploration and research

Scientific expeditions
Illustrations from Voyage en Nubie et en Abyssinie entrepris pour découvrir les sources du Nil


National Library of France , Paris, France

Engraver: Bernard

The search for the source of the Nile was of great scientific and diplomatic interest to European powers.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Royal and diplomatic visits
Religious tourism and pilgrimage
Exploration and research
Visiting and “revisiting” the Orient