Abstract

This paper will discuss the work of the premier British cartographer of the early eighteenth century, Herman Moll, and his depictions and descriptions of the Muslim areas of South Asia (Mughal India and the Indonesian archipelago in particular). Moll was a strong proponent and propagandist of British overseas expansion, South Asia being one area of particular interest to him. His maps disseminated and popularized information and perspectives brought back by European merchants, travelers, and pirates and were meant to be purchased by (mainly) British merchants, elites, and wealthy commoners interested in understanding Muslim Asia and the opportunities and challenges for British economic and political interests in that part of the world. Moll’s visual and graphic vocabulary highlighted European commercial and political contact with the societies and empires of South Asia. His maps functioned as strategic documents about British engagement with Muslim South Asia and showed the possibilities and limits of significant cross-cultural encounters during his active cartographic period (ca. 1700 to ca. 1730), a time when an emerging British Empire encountered well-developed indigenous empires in South Asia.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 311-339
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-27
Open Access
No
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