Google Doodle celebrates Abraham Ortelius, who created world's first modern atlas 400 years ago

On 20 May, 1570, Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas named Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World).

In the days of GPS, Google Maps and Google Earth, it is almost unthinkable of finding out ways or navigating through places without relying on the Internet.

400 years ago, a man named Abraham Ortelius, born in Antwerp, Belgium, on 4 April, 1527, devised world's first atlas. As we know, an atlas is an aggregation of maps and forms a unified global view, Ortelius put together latest information from various scientists, geographers, and cartographers around the world and came up with what we today know as an atlas.

Google celebrated Ortelius and his first atlas by dedicating the Google Doodle to him on 20 May.

Google Doodle celebrating Graham Ortelius.

Google Doodle celebrating Graham Ortelius.

"The atlas, titled Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), was first published on 20 May, 1570 and is significant for a couple reasons. Within these pages, we see the first evidence of someone imagining continental drift - the theory that continents were joined together before drifting apart to their present-day positions. Flipping through the pages, you may also notice a sea monster or two in the water — these mythical creatures were a subject of fascination in Ortelius’ generation, and often appeared alongside the ever-changing landscapes of the atlas maps," mentions Google in its special note to Ortelius.

NDTV, in its report, also states that Ortelius was also the first person to support the theory of 'continental drift', according to which it is believed that all the continents were part of a single landmass, and over the years, drifted apart to form seven different landmasses, the way we know or recognise them to be.

It is also reported that Ortelius' atlas had 53 maps in its first edition; it was a huge find during the 16th century as it made possible for general people to know where they are, what the world possibly looks like, and also in communicating other important things. The last edition of the atlas was published in 1622; it had 167 maps.

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