Mapping Asia presents an authoritative selection of the most important antique maps of Asia representing time periods from the age of Alexander the Great to the early nineteenth century, and spanning the area from the Middle East to Japan. A visual chronicle of the maps and their makers, this book presents historic documents by cartographers from England, France, Portugal, Holland, Turkey, Italy, and China. It explores the history of Europe's discovery of lands to the east, from Constantinople to present-day Alaska. In doing so the book tells the story of the thriving trade that linked east and west beginning with the ancient Silk Road, examines the role of the explorers - such as Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Sir Francis Drake - as they overcame enormous difficulties to discover new lands and routes to the East, and contrasts this history with the struggles of indigenous peoples to retain their autonomy in the face of European trade, missionary activity, and influence. This volume reproduces in full color 80 beautifully rendered and rare maps, more than 40 of which have never been published for the general public. Each map is accompanied by an essay that provides extensive background on the mapmaker and his work, with descriptions of the geography and sites. The decoration of the maps reflects artistic styles of their day, including calligraphy, cartouches, and details such as camel caravans making their way across the Silk Road, galleons navigating sea routes to Asia, illustrations of native plants and animals, battle scenes, and town views.