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Winner of the 2014 Parentsa€™ Choice Recommended Mobile App and a four-time winner of a Parentsa€™ Choice Gold Award. Animals is an adorable animal reference sure to be welcomed by parents and librarians alike. Description: Gerardus Mercator (1512-94) is perhaps the only figure in the history of cartography whose name has become a household word, and his system of map projection, called the Mercator projection, is still widely used today, albeit usually in slightly modified forms.
The first edition, first state Mercatora€™s map of the North Polar regions, represents the first separate map of the North Polar Regions. Published one year after his death by his son Rumold, Gerard Mercatora€™s classic map of the arctic is in hemispherical form framed by four medallions and a handsome floral border.
In 1569 Gerard Mercator published an 18-sheet world map using the projection that, to this day, bears his name.
In 1595 - never mind 1569 - no explorer had been anywhere near the North Pole, and today we view the ring of islands shown surrounding the North Pole on this map as pure fantasy.
Among the ideas shown on this map - ideas which are curious to us today - are that the North Pole was encircled by four land masses, separated from each other by rivers or channels in which the water flowed northwards from the surrounding oceans and then flowed into the earth at the North Pole, flowing beneath a large and tall black rock, 33 leagues around, that is located there.
Another idea, expressed in one of the text annotations on the map, is that a€?pygmies,a€? at most four feet tall, live on one of these four arctic islands.
The suggestion that there must be a large mountain of lodestone at the North Pole to account for the eartha€™s magnetism goes back to at least the 13th century, not long after the invention of the compass, but what was the source of the four islands and the inward-flowing rivers, of the mountains and the Pygmies? In the four corners of the map are the title and three insets showing islands of the North Atlantic: the Shetlands, the Faroes, and Frisland.
More remarkable than this map itself is the fact that many other contemporary maps, maps by the most respected cartographers of the time, show a very similar configuration around the North Pole. It should be noted that on world maps centered on the equator, rather than the Pole, the northern islands appear as elongated strips across the top of the map, due to the distortions involved in projecting the surface of a sphere onto a two-dimensional map. Another surprising feature of the map is the place-name California, which appears on a very northerly part of the American landmass.
Not long after this atlas map was published, the Dutch discovered Spitsbergen, an island archipelago north of Norway.
Smaller sized editions of Mercatora€™s Atlas were produced by a number of Dutch publishers in the early 17th century, and these contained miniaturized versions of this map.
Duzer, Chet Van, a€?The Mythic Geography of the Northern Polar Regions: Inventio fortunata and Buddhist Cosmologya€?, Culturas Populares. Ginsberg, William B., Printed Maps of Scandinavia and the Arctic 1482-1601, New York, Septentrionalium Press, 2006, pp. Chart your past explorations, your travel destinations, or the roots of your family tree with our personalized, earth-toned Europe map.
Chart your past explorations, your travel destinations, or the roots of your family tree with our personalized, earth-toned U.S.


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Mercator was famous for his meticulous research and accuracy, and thus it is quite a surprise to see for the first time Mercatora€™s map of the northern polar regions, Septentrionalium terrarum descriptio (1595): the map shows a North Pole that is very unfamiliar to modern eyes.
The Mercator Projection increasingly spreads out the vertical space required to portray each degree as the latitude increases towards each pole.
Yet Mercator based his polar depiction on the most credible information available to him at the time. This latter, Frisland, is one of the a€?phantoma€? islands that have appeared over the centuries in maps of the Atlantic.
Martin Behaim (Book III, #258), who died before Mercator was born, made a famous globe in 1492 (this is in fact the oldest surviving terrestrial globe) that shows land surrounding the North Pole. There are many, many other contemporary maps, literally scores, including examples from as late as the 1700s that show the same configuration of islands around the Pole. Mercatora€™s Septentrionalium terrarum descriptio was popular enough to inspire a number of blatant imitations, including maps by Matthis Quad (Cologne, 1600), Petrus Bertius and Jodocus Hondius Jr. This is not the first time the name California appeared on a printed map (it first appeared in a map published in 1562), but the northern location of the place-name on Mercatora€™s map is very unusual. Jodocus Hondius, who acquired the plates to Mercatora€™s Atlas in 1604, made a change to this plate, erasing part of one of the four arctic landmasses and putting in a depiction of Spitsbergen. Two smaller versions of this map were also published by the Cologne mapmaker Matthias Quad, the first of these in 1600. National Geographic's award-winning cartography is available as a map that is yours to customize. Astounding detail and boardroom quality make this map excellent for reference in your home or office. At the center of the map, and right at the Pole, stands a huge black mountain; this mountain was made of lodestone, and was the source of the eartha€™s magnetic field. This map, the first separate map devoted to the Arctic regions, is drawn from an inset on Mercatora€™s world map of 1569 (#406).
In fact, an infinite spread would be required to reach the actual North or South Pole in this projection. Ruysch (#313) cites the same sources, and Fridtjof Nansen (In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times) argues convincingly that Behaim (#258) was working from the Inventio fortunata also.
There are two large islands right near the Pole in the western hemisphere, while extensions of Europe and Asia reach northwards so as to form, together with the two islands just mentioned, a broken circle of land around the Pole.
These maps are derived from the world maps of the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), who established a mission at Zhaoquing Prefecture (in present-day Guangdong Province) in 1583.
Mercatora€™s Atlas went through many editions, under the stewardship of Hondius and his brother-in-law Jan Jansson. But by the 1630a€™s cartographers had begun to doubt the island-encircled view of the North Pole, and began producing maps showing a blank polar area - more accurately reflecting the lack of knowledge that existed at the time. Specify up to 70 characters of your choice for the map title—The Wells Family Travels or The Hill-Brown Family's Genealogy, for example.


A vast database allows National Geographic to combine the latest data gained by space-age technology with innovative digital mapping techniques to create state-of-the-art political, physical, and thematic maps. The central mountain is surrounded by open water, and then further out by four large islands that form a ring around the Pole. The map is extended to 60 degrees, to incorporate the recent explorations in search of the North West and North East Passages by Frobisher and Davis. No copy of this book is known to have survived, but Mercator quoted from this book in letters he wrote to the British polymath John Dee, in which he explained the source of his ideas regarding the geography of the far north.
Mercator and his contemporaries believed the author of the Inventio fortunata, the English Minorite, to be Nicholas de Linna (Nicholas of Kinga€™s Lynn); others have argued against this identification. Mercator copied Frisland from an Italian map of the mid 16th century, but he was unknowingly perpetuating an earlier cartographera€™s error since no island actually exists in that location. Mercator-influenced maps also appear in Japan: Abe Yasuyukia€™s Banukoku Chikyu Yochi Zenzu or Map of the World (1853), shows the four northern islands. Only the first two editions of the Atlas, published by Mercatora€™s son Rumold in 1595 and 1602, contain the pre-Spitsbergen version of this map.
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The largest of these islands perhaps 700 by 1100 miles, and they all have high mountains along their southern rims. California is identified as Spanish Territory and El Streto de Anian [Alaskaa€™s Bering Strait] is clearly shown. Mercator, however, wanted to depict the north polar regions on his map, so he came up with the idea of including a small inset map, on a polar projection, which he drew in the lower left-hand corner of his large wall map. He labels the waters within the four islands as the Mare Sugenum, and speaks of a violent whirlpool that sucks the incoming waters down into the earth; in addition, his map shows a ring of small, very mountainous islands around the four islands, which numerous islands Ruysch says are uninhabited. Basically though Mercatora€™s view of the northern regions lost favor after 1598, when the Dutchman Willem Barentsz made his famous chart of the northern polar regions showing open water there. Please check your order carefully; once placed, your order for this item cannot be canceled. In this map the pole itself is made up of four surrounding islands, which myth had it were separated by four strong flowing rivers. The map shown here, published in the first edition of Mercatora€™s famous Atlas, is basically a copy of the polar inset from his 1569 world map, but with some added features.
Mercatora€™s notes inform us that the waters of the oceans are carried northward to the Pole through these rivers with great force, such that no wind could make a ship sail against the current. These carried the oceans of the world towards a giant whirlpool at the pole where there stood a large rock.
The waters then disappear into an enormous whirlpool beneath the mountain at the Pole, and are absorbed into the bowels of the earth. The Septentrionalium terrarum descriptio was printed (posthumously) in 1595, and is very similar to an inset map of the northern polar region Mercator made on his world map of 1569, Nova et aucta orbis terrae descriptio ad usum navigantium emendate accommodata, commonly referred to as Ad usum navigantium.



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