Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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The Kraus Map Collection


Globes II, Mercator Terrestrial Globe (1541)

(click image for full description)

Title   Mercator Terrestrial Globe
Cartographer   Mercator, Gerhard (1512 - 1594)
Subject   Globes, Terrestrial
Publisher   Not identified
Repository   Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Place of publication
     or creation
Date(s)   1541
Format   Globe
Kraus catalog no.   Globes II
Dimensions in mm.   1050 x 500 mm, diameter 415 mm.
Rights   No known U.S. copyright restrictions. Please cite the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, as the image source.


This is Gerhard Mercator’s first globe, made while he was still a young man studying in Louvain. It was probably Nicolas Perrenot de Granvella, Prime Minister to Emperor Charles V and one of the most influential diplomats of the time, who encouraged Mercator to build his first globe. Note the dedication to Granvella in the South Pacific area of the globe. Another tablet bears the author’s name, the place, date and privilege: “Edebat Gerardus Mercator Rupelmundus cum priuilegio Ces. Maiestatis ad an. Sex. Lovanij an. 1541.”

The globe represents the entire world then known, with its seas, continents and islands, all meticulously captioned. This is one of the earliest globes on which Asia and America are recognized as independent continents, and it is the first time that the name “America” is applied to the entire continent.

The other 1541 Mercator globe is the U.S. is in the Harvard Map Collection http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/maps/exhibits/mercator/main.html