Marco Polo around 1200
Old world's greatest explorer, journalist greatest mapmaker -the most valuable journalists question the opposite to the norm
world trade routes usually depend on waterways- as it takes far less energy to move goods oversea than across a continent's lands
but up to 1500 the world's greatest trade route was the overland silk road, at around latitude 30 it crisscrossed the eurasia continent (apart from med sea african coastlines the only known world) from say Lebanon in the West to Hangzhou the river town in China through which you can sail to the continent's eastern coastal belt- few traders trecked the whole 7 years it took marco polo to walk, horse, yak and maybe camel the silk road- so what did he discover about this win-win world trade route
- it was like a giant relay of thousands of neighboring communities- each had to positively connect culturally to ensure the safety of trade- this then is the unique advantage that overland trade routes could be designed around
- trade was sustained by positive currencies- unlike the zero-sum paper currencies currently dominating globalisation trade, goods ,like china's silks and spices were light enough to be used like currencies and the further you transported the, from their origin the more rare they were- so the more valuable- unlike paper money both had actual value- before there was anyway to refrigerate food, some spices could help preserve it, other would at least disguise the bad taste- china's silks were not just the greatest fashion clothing of their time but celebrated artistic uniqueness- all competent artists could make a good living; it was really no accident that marco polo brought back to Italy an appreciation of art as a pursuit that the richest Italian as started making their legacy in frescos on churches and anywhere they wanted a community to remember them for posterity
- Marco polo also recotds that in his time the biggest place economies were correlated with where the biggest populations of people - a natural component of a sustainable system. China was the biggest population in the world so it was a good thing that the goods it traded were civilising all across the world trade route. Its worth making a map from the hangzhou end of the world- the greatest market town marco polo had ever seen and one that he was temporarily invited to govern as a local ruler was fascinated to celebrate such an exception cultural reporter as Marco.
Marco POlo's mapmaking is continued in right hand column of table that follows
Lets call China's part of the map region 0.
The first thing you mighty notove in Hangzhou was the world's longest Canal- it connec etd all the way north from Hanghou to Beijing. (If USA is proud of uniting over 50 states of peoples of about 350 million people today in one overall dream, China has the right to unite over 1.25 billion people- over fifths of the world's people. To do this China needed a Northern Capital. It soon starts getting very cold and hard in olden days to civilise as you go north of latitude 45 on Eurasia's continent- China needed to maintain border security the more it progressed its own dream and trading infrastructure
Happily If you sailed along the river from Hangzhou still mainly latitude 30 to the coast you would pass what is today's shanghai- the first island nation you would find almost doe east would be japan. If you sailed back from Japan you might well hit the continent at what we now call the penisular of south korea- all the coastal belt south of korea is china's from latitude 40x to where the coast turns west around latitude 20 - china's territory stops as the coast turns south once more to the peninsular we now call south asia with eg vietnam thailand malaysia singapore ending what we may call Asia's Eastern Coatsal Belt- let call the whole region connection the eastern coastal belt but not on the china mainland region 1
As you go back up the penisular the coastal belt turns east again at about latitide 20 but only for a short distance- that's where tioday's nation of Bnagaldesh is located -then you hit india- a lamnd which again takes the caostline far south almost to the equator before rising again to about latitide; as you go west on that cost you reach today's pakistan- lets call this region where peoples depend on the soutrhern coastal belt region 2- if we add up the population numbers today a quarter of the world's poeple linkin aoulnd tghe coastal belt we have just navigated -these people lie to china's south west