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For much of history, Serica hosted the greater share of the world's population. Favourable climates and fertile river basins allowed for most of the region's kingdoms and empires to be self-sufficient and for some periods in history, withdraw from international trade. But the exotic goods, knowledge, and customs of this rich region always managed to trickle westwards to Asea and Europea.


By the height of the Age of Exploration, European ships began to ply the region's seas regularly, and Serica slowly established itself as the centre of global trade, being inevitably linked first to Spain and its control of the outflow of Peruvian silver, and later Portugal and Flanders during the period of Flemish Learning. Through state control of the inflow of foreign influences, Serican rulers were able to develop their own take on European technology, much as how the British and French would later develop new local industries to substitute for Serican goods. Most of the region thus developed conservatively into the Industrial Revolution, despite bloody periods of war centred around the epic centuries-long Ming-Qing Wars, which evolved to become one of the first world wars.


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Ethnocentrism has always dogged geographers. Atlas Altera is written in English for those of the Anglosphere, who have generally inherited neighbouring European traditions. Here, countries and regions are rendered as if it is the tradition most familiar and accepted in practical usage by native English-speakers in Altera. Thus, the political map of Altera is rendered with exonyms, and the atlas draws deep from situated knowledges while simultaneously attempting to push the boundaries of those knowledges.

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The names of earth’s landmasses, continents, regions, and toponyms in Libya, Asea, and Erythrea were normalized by Venetian cartographers, who readily brought west maps of the south and east via their contact with the Grecians in Constantinople, a critical nexus point for trafficking things and knowledges across Borealea and Africa until the Age of Discovery. Toponyms of western continental Europea, generally corresponding to historically European Catholic areas, are derived from the naming conventions of the Dieppe school, which was influential until becoming eclipsed by the mapmakers of Antwerp. The Antwerp School made places of the Arctic and Norway known to the rest of Europea. Thus, the -ny, -land, and -ia suffixes generally correspond to these three schools of cartography influential to the English tradition.

The Dieppe School also began to incorporate the less systemic toponyms of the Spanish and Portuguese, which came out of early conquests in Septentrea and Crucea, most of which broke from the practice of naming places after native inhabitants but instead came from the Doctrine of Discovery. The Antwerp School fully normalized the practice of transliterating foreign toponyms through the lens of the regional hegemons in places where there was closer power parity between Europeans and natives, especially in Indea, Serica, and in the parts of Septentrea and Crucea that retained autonomy. The transliterations made in this time preserve the local pronunciations in the 18th and 19th centuries and may now be quite distant to the modern endonyms.

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