05.03.

1512: Famous Cartographer Mercator – The Man who Introduced the Term “Atlas”

1512: Famous Cartographer Mercator – The Man who Introduced the Term “Atlas”
Photo Credit To https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/G%C3%A9rard_Mercator.jpg

He was actually born with the name Gerard de Kremer, and this name was later Latinized to Gerardus Mercator (the word “mercator” means “merchant” in Latin).

 

The famed cartographer Gerardus Mercator was born on this day in 1512. He is of great historical significance because he was, by all accounts, the one who first used the term “atlas” to refer to a collection of maps. Mercator was born in the village of Rupelmonde, south of Antwerpen. Today this is part of the territory of Belgium, but in his time it was the County of Flanders, which belonged to Charles of Habsburg, the Duke of Austria, who later also became the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Spain. Gerardus Mercator was actually born with the name Gerard de Kremer, and this name was later Latinized to Gerardus Mercator (the word “mercator” means “merchant” in Latin). The Mercator projection in cartography is named after him, and remains the most widely-used projection on maps to this day.

 

Mercator was also known for his globes, around 22 of which have been preserved. He named the term “atlas” after the mythical King Atlas of Mauritania, who was allegedly one of the founders of astronomy.

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