"The continent of Europe comprises more than 30 countries, all of which are monarchies that follow the systems of the previous kings. No one here indulges in superstitions; everyone adheres only to the Holy Religion of the Lord of Heaven, the Supreme Deity.* Their officials are divided into three classes: the highest are occupied with matters of religion, then those deciding secular affairs, and finally those who are concerned exclusively with the military. The region produces five grains, five metals and 100 species of fruit. Wine is made from the juice of grapes. All of the workers are excellent. They study astronomy and philosophy. Their customs are simple and straightforward; they value the five relationships. Production is very abundant. The princes and the people are powerful and rich. In every season relations are maintained with foreign countries. The traders and merchants go to every country in the world. It is 80,000 li from the Middle Kingdom [China]. In antiquity there was no contact with Europe. It is only in the past 70 or so years that there has been contact."
*The italicized text is lost in this version of the map (see the missing characters in the detail). Here, significantly, Ricci discussed Christianity. This passage must have been deemed offensive at some point in the map's history and was effaced. (I would like to thank Ann Waltner, Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures and the Department of History at the University of Minnesota, for her insightful contribution to translating this passage).