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Introduction Gerardus Mercator was a Renaissance man who devoted his life to the world of cartography He has made some of the greatest contributions in this field and without these contributions maps would be quite different today Gerardus Mercator was born Gerhard Kremer of German parents in the town of Rapelmonde near Antwerp on March 5 1512 He was educated at sHertogenbosch in the Netherlands Englehart 1959 Like many other intellectuals of his time very early in his life he Latinized his German name which meant merchant and changed it to the name by which we know him Mercator means world trader Groliers 1997 He changed his name upon entering the University of Louvain in 1530 where he studied the humanities and philosophy He graduated from Louvain with an MA in 1532 Browne 1963 A new visual world was opening like a flower around Mercator Ships came back from the Americas with stories and drawings of a wondrous new land All that information fed the Renaissance belief that you learn by looking closely and critically at the external world In a hundred years that new visual sense would give birth to modern experimental science 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 Arestotle He traveled to a number of places including Antwerp and Mechelen while going through this personal crisis His travels did little for his religious worries but gave him a deep interest in geography Mercator returned to Louvain where he now studied mathematics under Gemma Frisius He also learnt about the application of mathematics to geography and astronomy He learnt to be an engraver and instrument maker at this time from Gaspar Myrica Osley 1969 In 1535-1536 Mercator working in Louvain with Myrica and with Frisius constructed a terrestrial globe
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