Monday, December 26, 2011

Book review : The men who mapped the World/The treasures of cartography

They were the extraordinary pioneers of global travel who risked life and limb to chart the oceans. But last night, thanks to a West author, the remarkable story of the men who mapped the world was revealed. In the first book of its kind, John Blake, a retired Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander from Wiltshire, details the history of the sea chart and the stories behind the maps which changed the course of world history and were instrumental in the rise of the British Empire. It is illustrated with dozens of charts dating to the 15th century. Charting the oceans was mankind's biggest challenge for 600 years, …

"The Men Who Mapped the World" takes you on a journey through the history of cartography and is essentially a history of the world and how its territories were discovered and explored.
Maps have been an integral part of the way humans have lived for approximately 8,000 years. The first accurate maps were produced in Ancient Babylonia.

The earliest world map is the Babylonian World Map, which is symbolic and not an exact representation. It deliberately doesn't include the Persians or the Egyptians.
The Ancient Greeks also produced maps, although they were mostly imaginary reconstructions of the world. Maps have been crucial in the development of empires, have helped to win wars, and have encouraged man to venture further than his or her known boundaries.

Beautifully illustrated, "The Men Who Mapped the World" is a fascinating look at how the science of cartography developed, how maps are used not just for getting from A to B, and why cartography is so important to our history of the world and the world we live in.

Nowadays, we take the use of Sat Nav and Google maps for granted, but this book reflects on the fact that it all began with human imagination and the desire for knowledge.

Contents :
Introduction; Mapping in the Ancient and Medieval World; Cartography in the Age of Discovery; The World Expands-Filling the Gaps (1600-1800); Maps in the Age of Empires and Nationalism (1800-1914); Mapping the Modern World (1914-2011).

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