Commandeering the waves

Hondius Vera Totius Expeditionis Nauticae Francis Drake

What is the shape and size of the Earth and of the cosmos containing it? For thousands of years, man has tried to map the world accurately. For a long time, no effective means existed for determining the position of countries in relation to one another. The measuring of latitude has been possible since ancient times. But how to measure longitude constituted the most dramatic scientific quest of the 18th century.

Lorenza Bacina traces the history of how the world was mapped, the motives involved of those shaping it and how the successes and failures of European explorers helped to build one centralised view of the world.

Producer: Lorenza Bacino

Broadcast: October 23, 2001