- Mercator, Gerardus
orig. Gerard Kremerborn March 5, 1512, Rupelmonde, Flandersdied Dec. 2, 1594, Duisburg, Duchy of CleveFlemish cartographer.He received a master's degree in 1532 from the University of Louvain (Belgium), where he settled. By 24 he was a skilled engraver, calligrapher, and scientific-instrument maker. He and his colleagues made Louvain a centre for construction of maps, globes (terrestrial and celestial), and astronomical instruments. He was appointed court cosmographer to Duke Wilhelm of Cleve in 1564, and in 1569 he perfected what has become known as the Mercator projection, in which parallels and meridians are rendered as straight lines spaced so as to produce at any point an accurate ratio of latitude to longitude. It permitted mariners to steer a course over long distances, plotting straight lines without continually adjusting compass readings. While the meridians are equally spaced parallel vertical lines, the lines of latitude are spaced farther and farther apart as their distance from the Equator increases; on world maps the projection greatly enlarges areas distant from the Equator.
* * *▪ Flemish cartographeroriginal name Gerard De Cremer, or Kremer?born March 5, 1512, Rupelmonde, Flanders [now in Belgium]died December 2, 1594, Duisburg, Duchy of Cleve [Germany]Flemish cartographer (cartography) whose most important innovation was a map, embodying what was later known as the Mercator projection, on which parallels and meridians are rendered as straight lines spaced so as to produce at any point an accurate ratio of latitude to longitude. He also introduced the term atlas for a collection of maps.Mercator's family had moved from Germany to Flanders shortly before he was born. He was educated in Hertogenbosch (Neth.), receiving training in Christian doctrine, dialectics, and Latin. In 1530 he entered the Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain [Belg.]) to study the humanities and philosophy and graduated with a master's degree in 1532.Religious doubts assailed him about this time, for he could not reconcile the biblical account of the origin of the universe with that of Aristotle. After two years of study which led him to Antwerp and Mechelen he emerged from his personal crisis, fortified in his faith, with less enthusiasm for philosophical speculation. Moreover, he brought back to Leuven a freshly acquired taste for geography.Under the guidance of Gemma Frisius, the leading theoretical mathematician in the Low Countries, who was also a physician and astronomer, Mercator mastered the essentials of mathematics, geography, and astronomy. Frisius and Mercator also frequented the workshop of Gaspar à Myrica, an engraver and goldsmith. The combined work of these three men soon made Leuven an important centre for the construction of globes (globe), maps (map), and astronomical instruments. In 1534 Mercator married Barbara Schellekens, by whom he had six children.By the time he was age 24, Mercator was a superb engraver, an outstanding calligrapher, and a highly skilled scientific-instrument maker. In 1535–36 he cooperated with Myrica and Frisius in constructing a terrestrial globe and in 1537 its celestial counterpart. These globes demonstrate the free and graceful italic lettering with which Mercator was to change the face of 16th-century maps. During that period he also began to build his reputation as the foremost geographer of the century with a series of printed cartographic works: in 1537 a map of Palestine, in 1538 a map of the world on a double heart-shaped projection, and about 1540 a map of Flanders. In 1540 he also published a concise manual on italic lettering, the Literarum Latinarum quas Italicas cursoriasque vocant scribende ratio, for which he engraved the wood blocks himself.In 1544 he was arrested and imprisoned on a charge of heresy. His inclination to Protestantism, and frequent absences from Leuven to gather information for his maps, had aroused suspicions; he was one of 43 citizens so charged. But the university authorities stood behind him. He was released after seven months and resumed his former way of life. He obtained a privilege to print and publish books and was free to continue his scientific studies.In 1552 Mercator moved permanently to Duisburg in the Duchy of Cleve. Once there, he became a well-known figure. He assisted the duke in establishing a grammar school by helping to design its curriculum. After establishing a cartographic workshop and engaging his own engravers, he returned to his main interest.In 1554 he published a map of Europe that he had begun at Leuven, and between 1559 and 1562 he taught mathematics in the grammar school. During these busy years he also undertook genealogical research for Duke Wilhelm, drew up a Concordance of the Gospels, and composed a detailed commentary on the first part of the Letter of Paul to the Romans. In 1564 he completed a map of Lorraine (now lost) and another of the British Isles. Public recognition of his accomplishments came in 1564 with his appointment as court “cosmographer” to Duke Wilhelm of Cleve. During these years he perfected his projection, which enabled mariners to steer a course over long distances by plotting straight lines without continual adjustment of compass readings. This technique immortalized his name in the “Mercator projection,” (Mercator projection) which he used on his map of the world in 1569.Mercator then began to execute a series of publications intended to describe the creation of the world and its subsequent history. This Atlas—the term still used to indicate a collection of maps—was never fully realized.In 1569, as the first section, he published a chronology of the world from the Creation to 1568. He then published 27 of the maps originally prepared by the Greek geographer Ptolemy, with corrections and commentary in 1578, under the title Tabulae Geographicae C. Ptolemei ad mentem autoris restitutae et emendatae. The next part of the Atlas, consisting of a set of new maps covering France, Germany, and the Netherlands, came out in 1585, with maps of Italy, “Sclavonia” (now the Balkan countries), and Greece following in 1589. A last section, on the British Isles, was included in an edition with the previous sections, which was seen through the press after his death by his son in 1595. Another printing followed in 1602, and further maps were added in a later edition of 1606, usually called the “Mercator–Hondius Atlas.”Additional ReadingA.S. Osley, Mercator (1969), contains a translation of Mercator's monograph on map lettering, and a translation of a biography written by his neighbour, as well as a general bibliography.
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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 — (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… … Scientists
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