Robert Gordon and the Rubies of Mogok: Industrial Capitalism, Imperialism and Technology in Conjunction

John Christopher Walsh

Abstract


Robert Gordon’s trip to the Mogok ruby mines in northern Burma, as reported in his testament to the Royal Geographical Society in 1888, represents one of the most blatant uses of travel as empire building in the Mekong Region. While European explorers and adventurers had been travelling to and along the region for centuries, most had been intent on mapping, surveying and categorizing its contents for purposes of their own profit, in one way or another. Gordon, while of course not unmindful of his own career, represents the traveller aiming to be of service to the greater power. He was strongly motivated by the desire to bring the ruby mines of Mogok into the reach of the British Empire through the building of a railway and the necessary infrastructure to pacify the countryside and its people, thereby enabling the enclosure of another type of commons.


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Asian Culture and History   ISSN 1916-9655(Print)   ISSN 1916-9663 (Online)

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