Abraham Ortelius

Abraham Ortelius. Theatrum orbis terrarium. London, 1606.

Abraham Ortelius. Theatrum orbis terrarium. London, 1606.

This is the first printed map of Wales. It was drawn in 1568 by Humphrey LLwyd (1527-1568), a leading member of the Welsh Renaissance, and it was first published in 1573 by Flemmish cartographer Abraham Ortelius  (1527-1598), in Theatrum, the world’s first modern atlas. Ortelius was a pioneer in map publishing whose innovations brought momentous changes to the world view of contemporary Europeans. Little is known about his training and early career, but his true accomplishment, was the publication of Theatrum.

To compile the atlas, Ortelius employed a network of cartographers to secure for him the finest exiting maps. He then had these  re-engraved by Flemish artist Frans Hogenberg (1535-90) so that they conformed to a standard format and graphic style. Much of the information in the earliest editions of the atlas was based on Gerard Mercator's world map of 1569, which was updated as new discoveries were made.

Photo: Detail of the first printed map of Wales on which the Teifi is described as the only river in Britain inhabited by beavers.

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