The Port Hamilton (Geomundo) Incident (1885–1887): Retracing another Great Game in Eurasia

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Abstract

This paper traces a much overlooked historical event, whose impacts threatened to upend the status quo in the Far East and potentially escalate the Anglo-Russian rivalry in Eurasia. With the occupation of Port Hamilton (Geomundo) by a hegemon, Britain, Korea was catapulted into the centre stage of the international system, where it garnered unprecedented attention from major powers. It was also during this period that neutralisation was contemplated both within and without Korea. By exploring this incident through contemporary neutralisation discourse, this work illustrates neutralisation's role in providing an analytical framework to assess the geopolitical importance of this incident in international relations. After suffering a crushing defeat in the Crimean War, Russia was forced to modify its designs in the Mediterranean and adjust itself to a new regional order. Since its room for manoeuvre was constrained by its chief rival, Britain, the Russian government was forced to tread more cautiously in European geopolitics and to refrain from military means in advancing its interests there. Similarly, the British offensive on Geomundo thwarted Russian expansion into the Far East and denied Russia access to the Pacific, allowing Britain to repeat the feat that it had achieved in the Crimean War.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-303
Number of pages24
JournalInternational History Review
Volume41
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Anglo-Russian rivalry
  • Geomundo
  • neutralisation
  • Eurasia
  • Great Game

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