Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World) #OnThisDay

On May 22nd 1570 the first atlas of the world was published by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598), a Flemish scholar and geographer.

The Atlas is a collection of map sheets and bound together.

Text accompanied each map and the many cartographers whose work was used in the compilation were acknowledged. The atlas was continually revised and reprinted.

After Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’s initial release, Ortelius regularly revised and expanded the atlas, reissuing it in various formats until his death in 1598. From its original seventy maps and eighty-seven bibliographic references in the first edition (1570), the atlas grew through its thirty-one editions to encompass 183 references and 167 maps in 1612. Only after 1610 did the atlas’s accuracy begin to be called into question by more recent findings, such as those found in the works of the Blaeu family and Jodocus Hondius. Throughout its publication history, however, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the undisputed leader in the field of European atlas-making.

Ortelius Atlas, Library of Congress

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