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DECEMBER2002
HOME MISSION GRAMOPHONE SATURNALIA WHOSE TOES? AISLES CHAOS MAPS
EARTH, FIRE, WATER, AIR - MAPPING THE WORLD AND THE ELEMENTS

Maps are so common today that we use them in our cars, rely on them in real estate transactions and download them from the Web. But before 1600, they were jealously guarded secrets that nations used to stake their claims on "new" lands.

However, as printed books became popular, the public demand for maps and atlases (collections of maps in bound form) also grew. Henricus Hondius' ornately decorated world map first appeared in the 1633 edition of the Atlas that was originally published in 1595 by the Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator and subsequently published by the Hondius family. The world is depicted in two hemispheres, which are bordered by the representation of the four elements of fire, air, water and land as well as portraits of Julius Caesar, the second century A.D. geographer Claudius Ptolemy, and the atlas' first two publishers, Mercator and Hondius.

Early map of the 'new' and 'old' worlds

Read all about to the Library of Congress Geography and Map collections in a special illustrated guide:
//www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/guide/

Examine the Library's online map collections:
//memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html

Look at maps of locations currently making headlines in "Places in the News":
//memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/plnews.html

A. This was one of the earliest printed maps of both "new" and "old" worlds. The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress has more than 4.5 million maps in its collections, with items ranging from 14th-century charts to recent satellite geographic data. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

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