Xiake Xu (1586–1641) was a native of Jiangyin in Jiangsu Province. He was a traveller and geographer during the Ming Dynasty. His name was Hongzu, and his nicknames were Zhenzhi and Xiake. He started his approximately 30 years of travelling at age 22. He covered more than half of China, reaching Yin (northeastern China) and Jin (now Shanxi Province) in the north and Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangdong, and Guangxi in the south. His written works include ‘Inspection of Jiangyuan’, ‘Inspection of the Pan River’, ‘Treatise on Mount Jizu’ and, most importantly, his masterpiece ‘The Travelogue of Xiake Xu’, which consisted of 19 volumes that described 1106 days of travel. It discussed the features and formation of karst topography in the limestone area of southwest China. He made observations and performed research on the volcanoes and hot springs as well as vegetation distribution patterns, weather, meteorology, social and cultural aspects. He was a pioneer of modern geography in China.