Pioneering Mapmakers

Gerhard Mercator

Detail of Title Page of Mercator’s Atlas Gerhard Mercator; Jodocus Hondius; Wye Saltonstall, 1635. Historia Mundi: or, Mercator's atlas: containing his Cosmographical description of the fabricke and figure of the world: lately rectified in divers places, as also beautified and enlarged with new mappes and tables by the studious industry of Ivdocvs Hondy

Detail of Title Page of Mercator’s Atlas‌ Gerhard Mercator (1512–1594) was a Flemish cartographer who in 1569 invented a new projection based upon a pioneering approach to mapping which was mathematically based and provided far greater accuracy for world-wide navigation than any map available at that time. By producing a cylindrical projection with the parallels and meridians straight and perpendicular to each other, Mercator was able to compensate for the unavoidable east-west stretching of the map by a corresponding north-south expansion, so that at every point location on the map, the east-west scale was the same as that of the north-south scale.

In Mercator’s Historia Mundi, Wales is treated both geographically and administratively as something of an appendage to the torso of England; the accompanying text describes the notable towns, the topography, the agricultural practices and the location of the various ‘shires’ of Wales, all under the Chapter heading The Third Table of England.‌

Gerhard Mercator; Jodocus Hondius; Wye Saltonstall, 1635. Historia Mundi: or, Mercator's atlas: containing his Cosmographical description of the fabricke and figure of the world: lately rectified in divers places, as also beautified and enlarged with new mappes and tables by the studious industry of Ivdocvs Hondy; Englished by W.S. (i.e. Wye Saltonstall). London: Printed by T. Cotes for Michael Sparke and Samuel Cartwright. (PHI 01338) Presented to St. David’s College by Thomas Phillips in 1841

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