Gerardus Mercator was born March 5, 1518, in Dumpelunde, Flanders (Belgium). He died Dec. 2, 1594, in Duisburg, Duchy of Cleve (Germany). His original name was Gerard de Kremer. Gerardus's father was a shoemaker in Flanders. He was educated at Shertogenbosch located in the Netherlands.
In 1530 he entered the University of Levine where he studied philosophy. He later graduated after studying mathematics. After school he studied astronomy privately. He also travelled to a number of places (including Antwerp and Mechelen) while going through a personal crisis. Mercator returned to Levine where he studied mathematics.
He spent seven months in jail but was released, mainly due to strong support from the University of Levine. In 1552 he moved to Duisburg where he opened a cartographic workshop.
He was the first to use longitude and latitude for sailors. Mercator was also very good at making an accurate map of Western Europe. Later Mercator lectured at Duisburg where he took some time off to make Mercator's Great Atlas in which he sought to describe the world's history. He was the first to make a map of the British Isles. He was an instrument maker and engraver. He made the first map of Flanders. He made maps with a new type of projection.
His many maps and globes increased trade and exploration and people's knowledge of the world.
1.[http://www.groups.des.stand,ac.uk/~history/mathematicians/mercatorgerardus.html]. "Gerardus Mercator."
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