One of a series which describes the cultural history of continents or regions through several centuries, this book is about exploration into China.
It starts off with a history and description of some of the traditional societies and how they are interrelated.It continues by discussing the significance of European exploration and the colonization that followed.The emphasis is on how the nature of exploration has changed over time and the implications of "opening up" traditional communities to the outside world.
There is an introduction to the Moguls contact with the Muslims; Friar William's expedition which started in 1253; Marco Polo's expeditions; the travels of Ibn Battuta (1304-68), an Arab who visited China in the 14th century and Zheng He (1371-1435) who was the most famous sea traveller of Chinese history.
He went on seven voyages reaching as far as South East Asia, India, the Persian Gulf and East Africa.
There is much information given on the conflict between Europe and China and the book ends with a look at how the region has survived through revolution and change into the 20th century.Specially commissioned maps show the region before and after exploration.