Asia and its Islands
Asia and its Islands
map of Asia after Capt. Cook.
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697 -1782), was a French geographer and the reformer of old and new cartography. Bourguignon d'Anville devoted himself early to geographical studies, already in the age of 21 became a royal geographer.With this appointment he later rose as a private secretary of Louis, Duke of Orléans. He published 211 maps and became a member of the Académie des sciences in 1773. His valuable map collection, consisting of 10,500 numbers, was purchased for the Royal Library of Paris, now the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville, was a geographer and cartographer who greatly improved the standards of map making. Particularly valuable are his maps of ancient geography, which are characterized by careful, accurate work and are largely based on original research. He left unknown areas of continents blank and noted dubious information as such; compared to the elaborate maps of his predecessors, his maps seemed empty. His first serious map, that of ancient Greece, was published when he was fifteen years old. At the age of twenty-two he was appointed one of the king's geographers and began to attract the attention of the first authorities. D'Anville's studies included everything geographical in the world's literature as far as he could find it: To this end, he searched not only ancient and modern historians, travelers, and storytellers of every kind, but also poets, orators, and philosophers. One of his favorite themes was to reform geography by putting an end to blind copying of older maps, by testing the generally accepted positions of places by a rigorous examination of all descriptive authority, and by excluding from cartography any name that was inadequately supported.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. The history of Asia can be seen as the distinct histories of several peripheral coastal regions: East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, linked by the interior mass of the Central Asian steppes. The coastal periphery was home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations, each of them developing around fertile river valleys. The civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and the Yellow River shared many similarities. These civilizations may well have exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other innovations, such as writing, seem to have been developed individually in each area. Cities, states and empires developed in these lowlands. The central steppe region had long been inhabited by horse-mounted nomads who could reach all areas of Asia from the steppes. The earliest postulated expansion out of the steppe is that of the Indo-Europeans, who spread their languages into the Middle East, South Asia, and the borders of China, where the Tocharians resided. The northernmost part of Asia, including much of Siberia, was largely inaccessible to the steppe nomads, owing to the dense forests, climate and tundra. These areas remained very sparsely populated. The center and the peripheries were mostly kept separated by mountains and deserts. The Caucasus and Himalaya mountains and the Karakum and Gobi deserts formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could cross only with difficulty. While the urban city dwellers were more advanced technologically and socially, in many cases they could do little in a military aspect to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force; for this and other reasons, the nomads who conquered states in China, India, and the Middle East often found themselves adapting to the local, more affluent societies.
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