China Translata : The 1555 Map of Advantageous Terrain Then and Now

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On 13 February 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi (1502-1572) reached the island of Cebu and claimed the island and the entire archipelago of the Visayas for Philip II of Spain. Shortly thereafter, the cosmographer Andrés de Urdaneta, accompanying Legazpi’s expedition, discovered a way from Manila across the Pacific to Acapulco in New Spain. This was meant to be the foundation of a trade route directly linking East Asia with the New World, which would fundamentally undercut Portugal’s supremacy in the East Asian trade.1 The Castilians’ ambitious plans to dominate the entire Pacific Ocean, however, relied implicitly on securing access to China. It was in the context of early efforts to obtain intelligence about China that the Gujin xingsheng zhi tu 古今形勝之圖 (Map of advantageous terrain past and present, abbreviated here as Xingsheng tu) entered the possession of the Castilian crown.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemapping the World in East Asia: Toward a Global History of the “Ricci Maps”
EditorsMario CAMS, Elke PAPELITZKY
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780824895068
ISBN (Print)9780824895044
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2024


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