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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010
  • First published in: 1881

CHAPTER IX - EXPEDITIONS PROMOTED BY THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY AND GRANTS OF THE ROYAL AWARDS, 1855–1880

Summary

When the prosperity of the Society rapidly began to increase under the fostering care of Admiral Smyth and Sir Roderick Murchison, it was not long before active aid to labourers in the field began again to combine with rewards for work achieved, in the furtherance of the cause of geography. As the funds of the Society increased, the encouragement and power to assist explorers increased also, but such aid mainly took the direction of African discovery.

In briefly recording the Society's work, it will be convenient to treat of each continent or great division of the globe separately, beginning with Asia, and then taking in order Africa, Australia, America, and finally the Arctic Regions.

So far as English labours are concerned, the most important Asiatic exploration has been undertaken from India, and generally under the orders of the Survey Department. It was therefore a well merited recognition of the value of the Indian Surveys when, in 1857, the Patron's Gold Medal was awarded to Sir Andrew Scott Waugh. The grant was made for his able extensions of the Great Trigonometrical Survey, and especially for his work in fixing 79 Himálayan peaks, one of which—Mount Everest (29,002 ft.)—is the loftiest mountain in the world. After his retirement in 1861 Sir Andrew Waugh was many years a Member of our Council, and a Vice-President, actively assisting us, almost until his lamented death in February 1878.