A Chinese Gazetteer of Foreign Lands

Mongol Empire

Mongol Empire

Project Overview: 

This project is a new, digital annotated translation of Part 1 of the Zhufan zhi (Gazetteer of Foreign Lands), an early thirteenth-century ethnographic and geographical description of nearly sixty foreign countries known to the Chinese through maritime trade relations, as well as a couple of imaginary countries that appear to be based on Arab myths. The countries described stretch from Japan in the east to the Almohad Caliphate in the west. The author, a Southern Song official named Zhao Rukuo (or Zhao Rugua, 1170-1231), composed this text in 1224-1225 based on information gathered from earlier Chinese sources and from foreign merchants whom he had interviewed. He had never traveled out of south China, but was stationed in the major port city of Quanzhou as a supervisor of maritime trade. The translation includes in-depth commentary, GIS maps, images, and links to relevant online resources.

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Project Team: 

Shao-yun Yang
Department of History, Denison University