The Story of Geographical Discovery: How the World Became Known

Read by Steven Seitel

This book was first published in 1897. It's a short work, but it encompasses a vast subject—nothing less than determining the detailed geographical plan of our entire world! In the process, Jacobs feeds us dates and names and events and places and maps in a dense stream. It's a bit like drinking from a fire hose, but see it through, and the reader (or listener) will acquire a surprisingly complete overview of world history as well as geography. It's well worth absorbing, even by those not so geographically inclined, if only as a source for winning endless bar bets.

Beginning in ancient times, the author identifies three main forces that have contributed to our present understanding: wars of conquest, competition for trade, and (eventually) pure scientific curiosity. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, early Greeks, Babylonians, and many other Mediterranean peoples contributed, often unwillingly, the streams of knowledge that Ptolemy of Alexandria summed up in the great Ptolemaei Orbis (ca.150 AD), the first “real” map of the whole known world. The evolution of world maps to incorporate (and sometime conceal) new discoveries is a key theme of this fascinating work. (Summary by Steven Seitel) (4 hr 51 min)


Preface and Introduction 10:31 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 1 The World as Known to the Ancients 26:16 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 2 The Spread of conquest in the Ancient World 17:49 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch 3. Geography in the Dark Ages 28:22 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 4 Medieval Travels 20:41 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 5 Roads and Commerce 18:44 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 6 To the Indies Eastward 23:22 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 7 To the Indies Westward 31:14 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 8 To the Indies Northward 15:55 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 9 Partition of America 21:59 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 10 Australia and the South Seas 22:35 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 11 Exploration and Partition of Africa 26:54 Read by Steven Seitel
Ch. 12 The Poles 26:45 Read by Steven Seitel