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Imagining China
Maps of China

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The Middle Kingdom

Shakespeare for Kids

Ptolemy. Geographia. Latin. Strasbourg, 1513

For thousands of years, people in Europe were curious about the lands far away to the East. A Greek scientist and mapmaker named Ptolemy made some of the earliest maps of China, which he called Regio Serica or the "Silk Land." Silk is a soft, delicate cloth that comes from China and in Ptolemy's time, was very special and expensive.


Ptolemy did not go to China himself, but used stories and information from other people to make his maps. You can see one of his maps at the top of this page. Can you find China?


Later on, other mapmakers and explorers visited China and created more accurate maps.


Look closely. One of the maps shows the Great Wall of China. Can you find it?

Martino Martini. De bello Tartarico historia. Antwerp, 1654

Willem Blaeu. Appendix Theatri A. Ortelli et Atlantis G. Mercatoris. Print, 1631

Sebastian Münster. Cosmographia. Latin. Basel, 1554

Did you know?

In ancient China, how to make silk was a carefully guarded secret.

Just for Kids

People who make maps are called cartographers.

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