Mercator , Gerardus
(1512–1594) Dutch cartographer and geographer
Mercator, originally named Kremer, was born at Rupelmonde, now in Belgium. At the University of Louvain (1530–32) he was a pupil of Gemma Frisius. After learning the basic skills of an instrument maker and engraver, he founded his own studio in Louvain in 1534. Despite accusations of heresy and imprisonment in 1544, he remained in Louvain until 1552, when he moved to Duisburg and opened a cartographic workshop.
Mercator first made his international reputation as a cartographer in 1554 with his map of Europe in which he reduced the size of the Mediterranean from the 62° of Ptolemy to a more realistic, but still excessive, 52°. He produced his world map in 1569 and his edition of Ptolemy in 1578, while his Atlas, begun in 1569, was only published by his son after his death. It was intended to be a whole series of publications describing both the creation of the world and its subsequent history. Mercator was the first to use the term ‘atlas’ for such works, the book having as its frontispiece an illustration of Atlas supporting the world.
The value of Mercator's work lies not just in his skills as an engraver, but also in the introduction of his famous projection in his 1569 map of the world. Navigators wished to be able to sail on what was called a rhumb-line course, or a loxodrome, i.e., to sail between two points on a constant bearing, charting their course with a straight line. On the surface of a globe such lines are curves; to project them onto a plane chart Mercator made the meridians (the lines of longitude) parallel instead of converging at the Poles. This made it straightforward for a navigator to plot his course but it also produced the familiar distortion of theMercator projection – exaggeration of east–west distances and areas in the high latitudes.
The big difference, apart from projection, between Mercator's and classical maps was in the representation of the Americas. He was not the first to use the name America on a map, that distinction belonging to Martin Waldseemüller in 1507, but he was the first to divide the continent into two named parts –Americae pars septentrionalis (northern part of America) andAmericae pars meridionalis (southern part of America).

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MERCATOR, Gerardus — (1512 1594) Gerardus Mercator, a transforming figure in the history of cartography, de­vised the projection that bears his name when he created his world map of 1569 that revolutionized both mapmaking and, by extension, the way people came to… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Mercator, Gerardus — orig. Gerard Kremer born March 5, 1512, Rupelmonde, Flanders died Dec. 2, 1594, Duisburg, Duchy of Cleve Flemish cartographer. He received a master s degree in 1532 from the University of Louvain (Belgium), where he settled. By 24 he was a… …   Universalium

  • Mercator, Gerardus — orig. Gerard Kremer (5 mar. 1512, Rupelmonde, Flandes–2 dic. 1594, Duisburg, ducado de Cleve). Cartógrafo flamenco. En 1532 obtuvo el grado de magíster en la Universidad de Lovaina (Bélgica), donde se estableció. A los 24 años era un hábil… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • MERCATOR, Gerardus (Gerhard Kremer) — (1512–1594)    Cartographer. Born in Rupelmonde near Antwerp, Mercator stud ied at the University of Louvain and specialized as a mapmaker. Ac cused of Protestant sympathies, he moved to Duisburg, Germany, in 1552, where he created most of his… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • Gerardus Mercator — (5 March 1512 – 2 December 1594) was a cartographer, born in Rupelmonde in the Hapsburg County of Flanders, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is named after him. This proved very useful… …   Wikipedia

  • Gerardus Mercator — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mercator. Gerardus Mercator en 1574. Portrait par Frans Hogenberg. Gerardus Mercator …   Wikipédia en Français

  • MERCATOR — I. MERCATOR Bartholomaeus, fil. Gerardi, de quo mox, admodum iuventis, scripsit Notas in Sphaeram Ioh. de Sacro Bosco exstinctus A. C. 1568. aetat. 18. II. MERCATOR Gerardus, celeberrimus sui temporis Geographus, Ruremundâ Flander, ex parentibus… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Mercator — (Latin for merchant ) may refer to: Marius Mercator (c. 390–451), a Catholic ecclesiastical writer Gerardus Mercator, a 16th century Flemish cartographer Mercator projection, a cartographic projection devised by Gerardus Mercator Nicholas… …   Wikipedia

  • Gerardus Mercator — (5 de marzo, 1512 2 de diciembre, 1594) fue un cartógrafo flamenco, recordado por su proyección de Mercator. Nació con el nombre Gerard de Cremere (o Kremer) en Rupelmonde Bélgica . Mercator es la latinización de su nombre, que significa …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mercator projection — of the world between 82°S and 82°N. Mercator world …   Wikipedia

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