Gerardus Mercator Essay
On March fifth, 1512, a boy soon to be one of the greatest influences on the exploration of our planet, was born. Originally named Gerard de Cremere, Gerardus Mercatorfirst studied at Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, then in 1530, at the age of 18, entered the University of Louvain, studying humanities and philosophy. From there he graduated with an M.A. in 1532.
After graduating, Mercator began to have worries on how to reconcile the account of the origin of the universe given in the Bible with that given by Aristotle. Although traveling to many places, including Antwerp and Mechelen, the only result he obtained from his travels was that he became deeply interested in geography.
Mercator returned to Louvain after realizing his true passion, and studied mathematics under Gemma Frisius, instrument making and engraving under Gaspar á Myrica, and learned how top apply mathematics to geography and astronomy, and in 1534 married Barbara Schellekens, by whom he had six children.
By the time he was 24, Mercator was a superb engraver, an outstanding calligrapher, and a highly skilled instrument maker. In 1535 – 1536, Mercator, working with Myrica and Frisius, constructed a terrestrial globe. In 1537 they constructed a globe of the stars. Mercator, from 1537 – 1540, produced maps of Palestine, Flanders, and the world with a new projection.
In 1544 Mercator was charged with heresy partly due to his Protestant beliefs, but also because of the fact that he traveled so widely to acquire information for his maps, suspicions were aroused. After spending seven months in prison, he was released, mainly due to strong support from the University of Louvain. Then in 1552, he moved to Duisburg and opened a cartographic workshop.
Once in Duisburg, Mercator completed a project to produce a new map of Europe (1554) and taught mathematics from 1559 to 1562. In 1564, more maps followed: one of Lorraine and one of the British Isle…