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Death Of Man Who Drew The World

Gerardus Mercator

1594 December 5th -  The great Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator has died, aged 82. Mercator was a many-sided man, a philosopher, calligrapher, technician, instrument maker and engraver, but it is his maps that won him renown and helped the Netherlands grow into a sea-power. Mercator was at the centre of the great advances in map making technique made this century. His method of depicting the world's curved surface on flat paper using straight lines of longitude and latitude soon became standard practice. Mercator designed a map of the world in 1538, and three years later a globe based on maps and descriptions by Ptolemy, Marco Polo and the Spanish and Portuguese navigators. In 1569 he published a series of world maps for use by navigators. Mercator worked on a world atlas and history of the world for 20 years, but never completed it. His son is now planning to publish it in its unfinished state.