Category: Mapping Asia

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Mapping Japan: Bruno Hassenstein’s Map of the “Surroundings of Tokyo Bay and of the Volcano Fuji-No-Yama” (1879)

In 1879, the scientific journal Dr. A. Petermann’s Mittheilungen aus Justus Perthes’ Geographischer Anstalt (PGM) presented its readers with a detailed map of the Tokyo Bay area and Mount Fuji, offering more geographical information than other European maps of this region. This map, entitled The Surroundings of Tokyo Bay and of the Volcano Fuji-No-Yama (fig. 1), was the work of...

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Mapping Asia 2022 in Gotha: International Perspectives on Historical Cartographies of Asia

With the end of the year in sight and a detailed conference report forthcoming, this short note serves to remember the international conference Mapping Asia: Cartography and the Construction of Territoriality, which took place on the 24th and 25th of November 2022 at the Centre for Transcultural Studies in Gotha. Being part and parcel of the project Cartographies of Africa...

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Unveiling Map Making: A Cartographer’s Account

On Friday, May 4, 1906, Bruno Domann left his desk at the Perthes publishing house in Gotha carrying travel accounts, maps and instruments. However, he did not take the materials home in order to finish maps for the new printing run of the Stieler’s Hand-Atlas or Petermann’s Geographische Mittheilungen. Domann was on his way to the inn Zum Schützen, where...

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Disease Maps and Policy: The Case of the ‘Manchurian Plague’

In the autumn of 1910, the first reports appeared in the local press in Manchuria, a region in the Northeast of China, that there had been cases of a deadly pneumonic plague in the city of Harbin. The fight against this disease, which would become known as the “Manchurian plague,” became in many ways a precedent for the Chinese government,...

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Mapping a Fantasy: The Suez Canal Project in 1855

Part map and part perspective view, the “Vue panoramatique” depicts a geopolitical fantasy in the year 1855: the construction of the Suez Canal was to start only four years later, and it would take another decade until the first ships were seen crossing the desert. In 1855, the project of the Suez Canal was still the subject of fierce quarrels....

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Cartographies of Violence

An Exploration Route Map of Southeast Asia In the autumn of 1908 Dr Robert Brunhuber, a journalist and academic from Cologne, and his companion Karl Schmitz, set out from Rangoon. Their aim was to explore the remote upper reaches of the Salween River. Their ill-fated attempt resulted in remarkable cartographic texts, which reveal how European travellers’ input was elevated by...

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