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This essay will compare the historical geographies of colonialism in Ireland and Australia. First, it defines what we mean by ‘historical geography’ as this is fundamental to how this analysis will be made. Second, it discusses what we mean by colonization and why it plays such a central role in historical geography. Third, it discusses the work of Edward Said, and in particular Orientalism. It compares and contrasts the colonial experiences of Australia and Ireland within this context. Fourth, it explores the notions of ‘exploration’ and ‘conquering’ using early maps of Australia and Ireland. Ireland and Australia are both post-colonial nations and there is a multitude of similarities in their historical geographies. Yet Ireland and Australia were fundamentally different places in the pre-colonialism era and remain so in the era of post-colonialism. This essay will compare and contrast the similarities and differences of their colonial histories. Background Historical Geography For the purposes of this essay, ‘historical geography’ is defined as a division of geography that concerns itself with “how cultural features of the multifarious societies across the planet evolved and came into being” (Wikipedia, 2006b). The discipline has traditionally considered the “spatial- and place- focused orientation of geography, contrasting and combining the spatial interests of geography with the temporal interests of history, creating a field concerned with changing spatial patterns and landscapes” (Guelke, 1997: 191). As Donald Meinig, one of the most influential American historical geographers once stated: “I have long insisted that by their very nature geography and history are analogous and interdependent fields” (1989: 79). Colonialism Any discussion of colonialism also requires a definition of what we mean by the term. Colonialism is one of the most important features of ‘modern’ history and, some might argue, the undertaking that led to the birth of ‘geography’ in the first place. To define colonialism we must first define two other key terms in history: empire and imperialism. The historian Michael Doyle defines empire as “a relationship, formal or informal, in which one state controls the effective political sovereignty of another political society. It can be achieved by force, by political collaboration, economic, social, or cultural dependence” (in Said, 1993). Imperialism is broadly the practice, the theory and the way of thinking of a dominating centre that controls a far-off land (Said, 1993); as Doyle states, “imperialism is simply the process or policy of establishing or maintaining empire” (in Said, 1993). Within this context, colonialism can be defined as the “implanting of settlements on distant territory” and is virtually always a result of imperialism (Said, 1993). To analyse and contrast colonial experience, as well as to understand why colonialism figures so prominently in the discourse of historical geography, one must try to understand the sheer scale of colonial expansion. As Said (1993: 1) explains:>