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Une figure lorraine : Jules Crevaux (1847-1882) et l'exploration de l'Amérique du Sud

Abstract : A French naval surgeon, Jules Crevaux made several journeys to South America, including four exploration trips in the Guianas, Amazonia and Orinoco areas between 1869 and 1882 before he was slain by the Gran Chaco Indians in Bolivia. He came to prominence through the widespread reports of his travels, backed by the Geography Society and the « Tour du Monde » magazine. His reports have definitely changed the image of the Amazonian area from the conventional Eldorado to « locus terribilis ». Crevaux occupies an uncommon place in his time for his almost humanistic approach and his eclectic intellectual curiosity. This work aims at enhancing and enlightning the figure of the late 19th century explorer in the days of European expansionism. It gives a detailed account of the staging of the journey while probing into the motivations of the explorer and the reception after his return. It also shows the evolution of historiography which had sunk into oblivion until a revival of interest since the 1980's. The work should also help to gain a better understanding of the consequences of the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany which had such a decisive impact on Crevaux's attraction to exploration trips. A protagonist in the 1870 war along with Gambetta, he subsequently received support from the Ministry of Public Instruction especially in Ferry's days. At a time when French foreign policy was mainly focused on Africa and South East Asia, this work aims at showing why South America suddenly aroused widespread curiosity and why a Lorraine born geographer choosing to keep the French nationality fostered this nascent interest.
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Francis Grandhomme. Une figure lorraine : Jules Crevaux (1847-1882) et l'exploration de l'Amérique du Sud. Histoire. Université Nancy 2, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011NAN21014⟩. ⟨tel-01749073⟩



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