Google on Sunday honoured Abraham Ortelius with a doodle for creating the world’s first modern atlas. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the world) was published on May 20, 1570.
The atlas that Ortelius came up with recorded the first evidence of continental drift. His atlas brought geographical maps together, gathering them all into the same format. The first edition of the atlas had 53 maps while the last one, published in 1622, had 167. Ortelius was also one of the first cartographers to add sources and names to the creators of the original maps.
Google calls him “one of the first cartographers to consistently add sources and names to the creators of the original maps”. His innovation “helped give all a truly global view”.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, on April 4, 1527, he initially worked as a map-engraver. Ortelius loved to travel. It was his journey with cartographer Gerard Mercator that inspired him to start producing maps. His first maps were those of Egypt, Asia, Spain and the Roman Empire.
He could speak several languages, including Dutch, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish and English. He also studied classical literature and history, and is remembered as a humanist.