Abraham Ortelius

Gerardus Mercator – The Man who Mapped the Planet

Gerardus Mercator – The Man who Mapped the Planet

On December 2, 1594, German cartographer, philosopher and mathematician Gerardus Mercator passed away. He is best known for his work in cartography, particular the world map of 1569 based on a new projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing as straight lines. He was the first to use the term Atlas for a collection of maps. “Since my youth geography has been for me the primary object of study. When I…
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Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

On May 20, 1570, Belgian cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in Antwerp. It consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. Abraham Ortelius – Early Years Abraham Ortelius was born in Antwerp, but grew up with his uncle after his father passed away at young age. In…
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John Speed and his Atlas of the British Isles

John Speed and his Atlas of the British Isles

On July 28, 1629, English cartographer and historian John Speed passed away. He is considered the most famous of English map-makers. His best-known work is a landmark: the first atlas of the British Isles, the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (1612), which was reprinted for well over a century after his death. Framed productions of maps from his atlas remain popular to hang in homes. John Speed – “An Ambitious,…
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William Parsons and his Very Large Telescopes

William Parsons and his Very Large Telescopes

On June 17, 1800, Irish astronomer William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, was born. As an astronomer, he had several telescopes built, among them his 72-inch telescope, built in 1845 and colloquially known of as the “Leviathan of Parsonstown“, which was the world’s largest telescope, in terms of aperture size, until the early 20th century. In 1848, he found and named the Crab Nebula (because he thought it resembled a crab), by which name…
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Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

On November 24, 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant Abel Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania, north of Macquarie Harbour. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Service in the Dutch East India Company Abel Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast in what is now the province of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received a sufficient education to enable him to express…
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