Maps for a twentieth-century Chinese revolutions course

Lara Netting's picture

I am teaching "Revolution and State Building in Twentieth-Century China" at Reed College. I am looking for maps that will help my students understand the different governments who controlled territory in modern China, and how the situation rapidly changed. Are there digital resources or historical atlases that anyone would recommend? Thank you. 

Dear Dr. Netting,

It's not a historical atlas as such, but my first stop for digital maps of China (or anywhere else) is the collection at U Texas.

They're likely to have anything you need for teaching or research.

Happy hunting!


In addition to the University of Texas collection, I would recommend the David Rumsey Map Collection, which has hundreds of high quality maps of China and Chinese regions:

Also, Virtual Shanghai has 700+ historical maps of Shanghai:
You also might want to have a look at Henriot and Zheng, Atlas de Shanghai : espaces et représentations de 1849 à nos jours.

Local gazetteers and the local editions of Zhonggong zuzhishi ziliao are also great sources for maps, especially for wartime China.

You should check the wide range of maps available through Harvard's China Historical GIS project:

Also, the US Army did a lot of maps of the WWII Asian theatre, which are open source and floating all over the web (Wikipedia has a bunch), but they are collected here:

Hope those help!


Thanks for this.

Thank you! I appreciate your suggestions.

You might also find useful maps for the Northeast and Inner Mongolia in Li Narangoa and Robert Cribb, Historical Atlas of Northeast Asia 1590-2010 (Columbia, 2017). It deals with 5-year slices, so gives some idea of effect of the passage of time in parts of China.

I recently discovered Omniatlas (, a relatively new "interactive atlas of world history," and have found its historical atlases for East Asia (covering 1894-2014) and China (covering 1948-1979) to be impressively clear, informative, and accurate. These maps do not depict topographical features or cities (with the exception of international concessions in China) and focus on showing how political boundaries and jurisdictions changed over time, as well as highlighting important political events. That should make it ideal for the purposes of your class.

Thanks for these latest suggestions.