Same Name, Other Side of the Border (Part VI: West Asia)

Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan/Iran) The region of Azerbaijan, divided between the Republic of Azerbaijan in the north and the Iranian provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, and Ardabil in the south, has been split since 1812-13, when the Russian Empire, steadily extending its reach southward along the Caspian Sea, captured the khanates in the portion of Azerbaijan…

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Vintage Road Map Week 2012, Part II

It’s the second annual Vintage Map Week here at The Basement Geographer.  If you, like me, are a map freak, then you’ve probably tracked down your fair share of old road maps over the Internet, where good cartographic Samaritans have uploaded hundreds of images of old road maps that one can lose hours looking at…

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The Many Alexandrias of Alexander the Great

This map of Alexander’s empire will be useful for orientation in this article.  Click on image to expand to full size (2000 x 961).  Source: Captain Blood, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MacedonEmpire.jpg.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. In a span of just 13 years from 336 BC to 323 BC, Alexander the Great pushed…

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Counting Down the Ten Largest Empires in History, Nos. 10-6

For number 5 through number 1, click here.  10. Portuguese Empire (1815) – 10.4 million km2 (4.0 million sq mi) Portugal proper is not the largest country on the planet by any means, but its hold on a massive overseas colonial empire existed for nearly six centuries thanks to the maritime kingdom’s place at the…

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Google Sightseeing: Street View Competitors

I grew up in the West Kootenay, a unique region of Canada where both French and Russian are taught in the public school system as second languages of instruction thanks to the tens of thousands of people who descend from the thousands of Russian Doukhobors who arrived in the region between 1908 and 1912.  I…

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The Oldest Map of the World in Existence

Believe it or not, the weird drawing occupying the bottom of this unbaked clay tablet housed at the British Museum is the oldest known map of the world still in existence today. Dated to sometime back in the 6th century BC during the Neo-Babylonian period, but labelled directly on the tablet as a copy of…

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The Iraqi-Saudi Neutral Zone: A Diamond in the Sand

Those of you reading this older than, say, 25 years old may remember an odd diamond-shaped anomaly sticking out of your atlases when gandering at maps of the Middle East. Appearing as late as the early 1990s on various maps (I can distinctly remember it showing up in Encarta CD-ROMs as late as 1992 or 1993)…

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