Climates as commodities: Jean Pierre Purry and the modelling of the best climate on Earth

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    The paper looks at how an early eighteenth-century climatological model of the 'best climate' on Earth became a platform for political, economic, and demographic action of extraordinary significance for the colonization of new commodity environments. It analyzes the science used by an early modern business adventurer to model 'climate' as an economic tool informing imperial governance and exploitation of local resources. Jean Pierre Purry's construction of 'model climate' portrayed North Carolina's township at Yamassee River as an ideal environment geared toward mercantilist principles of trade but also as a model community based on skilled labor and optimal climatic capital. His climatological analysis was a purposeful act of policy making based on a science of colonial expansion similar to more recent calls at economic modelling of future climate impact. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)201-207
    Number of pages6
    JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


    • Climate
    • Colonization
    • Commodity
    • Mercantilism


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