Gerardus Mercator Biography
(Geographer, Cosmographer and Cartographer Known for Creating the 1569 World Map Based on a New Projection)
Birthday: March 5, 1512 (Pisces)
Born In: Rupelmonde, Kruibeke, Belgium
Gerardus Mercator was a famous Flemish cartographer during the Renaissance period who first coined the term ‘atlas’ for the maps he created. He collected reports from travelers to distant parts of the world and pieced together the information to create the maps. As he was a good cartographer he was able to depict the correct topography of area for which he created the map. The maps were very accurate at the center but were often distorted at the edges. This was probably due to the fact that he used the longitudes and latitudes as straight lines running parallel to each other from the top to the bottom and from side to side. He was the first person to use the term ‘North America’ in his maps and showed the ‘New World’ on his maps as stretching from the North to the Southern hemispheres. His maps became the sole guide for people venturing into the unknown over the land and the sea. He lived during the time of ‘reformations’ in Europe and was suspected to be a Lutheran and imprisoned for seven months. He started making maps when the world was opening up to the Europeans voyagers and travelers rapidly.