Typvs Orbis Terrarvm
Alternative Title
Typus Orbis Terrarum
Ortelius, Abraham, 1527-1598 (Cartographer, Engraver)
Date created
Type of resource
Still image
Maps (documents)
Historical maps
Map/Globe, Image
Digital origin
reformatted digital
Each succeeding decade following the first New World discoveries created its own revolution of knowledge, but a watershed in the growth and illustration of geographical information was the atlas published in 1570 by Abraham Ortelius, a businessman native to Antwerp. The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first atlas in the modern sense of the word, as Ortelius compiled the best existing maps, re-engraved them on a standardized format, and included them with text in one volume. This was a landmark innovation, and the Theatrum was arguably the first printed production to have a major impact on the world perspective of contemporary Europeans. Despite their relationship as competitors, Ortelius and his fellow cartographer Gerard Mercator were close friends, and together they represented the major proponents of the most celebrated period in the history of mapmaking.
The centerpiece of Ortelius's unprecedented atlas was this map, the Typus Orbis Terrarum. Publication of this famous world map marked the beginning of the golden age of Dutch cartography. It is remarkable how accurately the four known river systems of America are located. The Colorado and St. Laurence regions had recently been explored by Coronado and Cartier respectively; and the Amazon and La Plata basins were just beginning to be penetrated actively. Much of the map's information rested upon Mercator's great world map of 1569, especially the distorted shape of South America. This landmark map is rightly celebrated for unequalled beauty as much as for outstanding discovery, and is an example of the finest work of Ortelius.
The Abstract/Description provided for this map is taken from an accompanying gallery schedule.
Related item
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Early American and European Maps
Subjects and keywords
World maps
Permanent URL


Small Image Large Image Master Image