Slideshow: How the World Map Has Changed

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From the first civilizations in Mesopotamia, to the European Age of Sail, our understanding of the planet and its inhabitants has undergone incredible growth.

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This 1470 Japanese map is one of the oldest surviving from East Asia. An older copy was found in Korea, which was in turn based on a Chinese version. Info about Europe and Africa came with Islamic travelers, who crossed Asia’s Mongol Empire in the 1300s. Image: Honkoo-ji Tokiwa Museum of Historical Materials, via Wikimedia Commons.