Abraham Ortel (Ortelius) is regarded as one of the most prominent cartographers
of the sixteenth century. Born in Antwerp where he was educated in the classics
and mathematics, he began his career in cartography as an illuminator or
'painter of maps' and opened a bookstore in partnership with his sister.
In the course of his business, he traveled throughout Europe and established
important contacts with cartographers and other literati. Between 1564
and 1570 he produced several of his own maps including a large map of the
world on eight sheets. It was not however, until the publication of the
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World) in 1570 that
Ortelius' place in history was assured.
Ortelius's Theatrum (as it is often called) is considered the first true atlas,
although Mercator coined the term
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