Historian Searching for Maps to Support Vietnam’s Claims to the Paracel Islands

Philippe Vandermaelen, “Partie de la Cochinchine,” Atlas universel de geographie physique, politique, statistique et mineralogique, 1827. David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Using old maps as “proof” of one side’s claim over disputed territory, or a disputed place name, is something we’ve seen many times before. It’s happening with the Paracel Islands as well. They’re claimed (and occupied) by China as part of their claim on the South China Sea (the Nine-Dash Line); Vietnam considers the islands as part of Đà Nẵng province. While the central Vietnamese government has been somewhat careful regarding its boundary dispute with China, the same cannot be said for Đà Nẵng’s government, which has asked a local historian, Tran Duc Anh Son, to collect old maps and documents supporting Vietnam’s claims to the islands (which it calls the Hoàng Sa Archipelago). The New York Times has the story. [WMS]

Previously: Vietnam Objects to Map World’s Boundaries.

James Clark’s Revised Map of Current and Proposed Railways in Southeast Asia

James Clark

James Clark has updated his map of current and proposed railways in southeast Asia (see previous entry). The new version clearly delineates between current and proposed lines. “The black lines on the map represent railways that are currently operating, while the red lines are proposed lines. As with the subway map, proposed can mean anything from lines currently under construction, in feasibility study stage, or an on-the-record election promise from a pork-barrelling politician.”

A Map of Southeast Asia’s Future Rail Lines

Map by James Clark

Travel blogger James Clark has created a subway-style map of southeast Asia that shows every rail line that currently exists, is under construction, or proposed.

What would Southeast Asia look like if it had a fully functioning railway network? I have thought about this many times, usually while on a bus ride from hell (Huay Xai to Luang Prabang springs to mind). […]

Over the years I’ve bookmarked news articles reporting railway lines that are under construction, or have been proposed to be built. Compiling all this data I have created a map of what Southeast Asia could look like if all of those lines were built, combined with current railways.

James warns that he’s included every proposed line, “no matter how ridiculous,” so bear that in mind. It’s also available as a poster. [CityLab]