WHERE EAST MEETS WEST
A Royal Warrant authorizing the construction of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich was issued on June 22, 1675. The foundation was laid a short 10 weeks later and the Christopher Wren-designed building opened a year after that.
Britain under King Charles II had a large world class navy as well as a myriad of merchant ships sailing under their protection. Latitude could be determined by the angle of the sun, but longitude was trickier. To determine how far east or west of Greenwich a ship might be would depend on an elaborate plotting of star charts and observation of the moon.
In 1884, the longitudinal line going through Greenwich was declared the Prime Meridian, which only made sense since most of the world had come under the influence, if not government, of the British realm.
Here is Johnson’s map of England and Wales from 1866.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.