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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 Mercator first 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 MA 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 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 Isles and he was also appointed Court Cosmographer to
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