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234 × 156 × 27 mm
208 pages
44 illustrations, 8 in colour
01 Oct 1997
Picturing History
  • £22.50

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Trading Territories Mapping the Early Modern World Jerry Brotton

Trading Territories is a beautifully illustrated book that offers a new account of the status of maps and geographical knowledge in the early modern world. Focusing on how early European geographers mapped the territories of the Old World - Africa and Southeast Asia - Trading Territories contends that the historical preoccupation with Columbus’s ‘discovery’ of the New World in 1492 has tended to obscure the importance of the mapping of territories that have been defined as ‘eastern’.

The book situates the rise of early modern mapping within the context of the seaborne commercial adventures of the early maritime empires: the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Ottomans, the Dutch, and the English. It explores the fascinating ways in which maps and globes were used to mediate the commercial and diplomatic disputes between these empires - empires that came to value the map for what it told their powerbrokers about their place in the world, over and above its objective depiction of the world. Trading Territories argues that it was trade, diplomacy, and financial speculation that shaped the development of early maps and globes, rather than the disinterested intellectual pursuit of scientific accuracy and objectivity.

‘In this outstanding study of maps and mapping, Jerry Brotton reveals a dynamism in the transaction between East and West beyond anything we have previously appreciated.’ — Lisa Jardine, Queen Mary University of London

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Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London and a leading expert in the history of cartography. He presented the BBC4 series Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession in 2010, and is the author of numerous critically acclaimed books, including Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (Reaktion, 2000), co-written with Lisa Jardine, and the bestselling and prize-winning A History of the World in Twelve Maps (2012).

1. Introduction
2. An Empire Built on Water: The Cartography of the Early Portuguese Discoveries
3. Disorienting the East: The Geography of the Ottoman Empire
4. Cunning Cosmographers: Mapping the Moluccas
5. Plotting and Projecting: The Geography of Mercator and Ortelius
6. Conclusion