Gerhard Mercator

1512-1594

Gerhard Mercator, was a Flemish cartographer, mathematician and geographer, who modernized cartography according to mathematical principles, facilitated navigation by charts, invented the projection that bears his name, and coined the term "atlas" to refer to a book of maps. Son of a shoemaker, he was born on March 5, 1512 in Rupelmonde, Flanders, as Gerhardus Cremer, or Kremer. Upon entering the University of Louvain in 1530 he Latinized his name and became "Mercator", merchant. (Cremer in Flemish stands for "merchant" as well). After graduation in 1532 he studied privately mathematics, astronomy and geography under Reiner Frisius (1508-1555), also he acquired engraver's skills from a Louvain goldsmith Gaspar van der Heyden.

In 1552 he moved to Duisburg, where Duke William of Cleves (1516–1592) intended to establish a university. Mercator served in Duisburg as the Duke's cosmographer. He ran his own shop, hired his own artisans, published his own books, and did some teaching. Thanks to the patronage of the court of Cleves, the last four decades of Mercator's life were secure, happy, and productive. Among his best works of this period was this Taurica Chersonesus, a detailed map of the Crimea and surrounding regions between the northern coast of the Black Sea and Moscow.

[Based on "Mercator, Gerhard (1512-1594)." World of Earth Science. 2003]

Taurica Chersonesus Nostra Aetate Przecopsca et Gazara Dicitur

[Duysburgi]: Per Gerardum Mercatorem, [1595]
G7102.C7 1595 .M47


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