Companion to The Mercator Atlas of Europe

Accompanying the portfolio of map facsimiles, the large-format and richly illustrated book contains essays by an international group of distinguished map scholars. The contributors to The Mercator Atlas of Europe leave no aspect of the fascinating history of this atlas unexamined. The essays:

"The Atlas of Europe, circa 1550-1572" by Marcel Watelet
A review of the atlas's provenance - from Mercator's cutting and pasting together copies of his wall maps to a bookshop in Belgium to the British Library, its current home.
"Atlas, Birth of a Title" by James R. Akerman
While Mercator is credited with coining the name atlas to refer to maps bound between boards, he did not invent the atlas concept. Mercator made his first real atlas in 1585. Here we learn more about the Atlas mythology and Mercator's choice of the name.
"The Map of Europe" by Arthur Dürst
The celebrated 1554 map of Europe represented a major cartographic achievement, and for the next two centuries it became the accepted picture of the continent, signifying the beginning of a new geography.
"The British Isles" by Peter M. Barber
The deputy map librarian at the British Library provides a scholarly discussion of the sources of Mercator's map of the British Isles—ultimately a story of intrigue and deception at the hands of a Scottish traitor intent on aiding a Catholic invasion against Tudor England and Elizabeth I.

Mercator credits a "friend" with creating his 1564 map of the British Isles. Who was this mysterious mapmaker? Read this fascinating excerpt from Peter Barber's chapter, as seen in the July/August 1998 issue of Mercator's World®magazine.

"The 1569 Word Map" by Mireille Pastoureau
Mercator is best-known to us today for this cylindrical world map projection, which enabled navigators to plot a long course in straight lines. One of the most revolutionary inventions in the history of cartography, Mercator's projection has greatly influenced our image of the world.

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