World Map on Double Cordiform Projection


This world map on two sheets is an early work of the famous Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator (1512–94). Only two copies of the map are extant: this one from the American Geographical Society Library, and one at the New York Public Library. This is also the first map to apply the name America to the North American continent as well as to South America and to differentiate North and South America as separate continents. In using the term “America” in this way, Mercator shares responsibility with Martin Waldseemüller for naming the Western Hemisphere. Mercator was a master of engraving and a creator of mathematical instruments and terrestrial globes. His solution to the problem of accurately conveying the Earth’s sphere in only two dimensions, as used here in a double-heart-shaped projection, resulted in maps of greatly increased accuracy. Mercator’s navigational charts enabled compass bearings to be plotted in straight lines on charts and clarified longitude and latitude measurements.

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Physical Description

1 map ; 2 hemispheres each 31 centimeters in diameter, on sheet 46 x 61 centimeters


  • Scale 1:65,000,000

Last updated: March 22, 2016