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Maps of Asia

When the New World was an empty outline of vague promise and Australia was still an unknown continent to the south, detailed maps of Asia were already prominent in the works of European master cartographers. Asia was well known to mapmakers due to Europe’s vested interest in its commodities. Beginning with the Roman empire, European powers leaped over each other to gather the wealth of the East. By the 1700s, Portugal, Holland, France, and England had set up trading posts along the silk and spice routes in the Far East. Holland dominated India, Ceylon, and Indonesia by 1750.

Abraham Ortelius created the first Western map of China, published in his "Theatrum" of 1584. Based on the accounts of Portuguese mapmaker Luis de Barbuda, the map is a typically romanticized Ortelius map featuring... Read more

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