By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (May 20, 2021) – In Issue 2021-97 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we go back to the 16th Century to find the first book of world maps.


No, not the Greek mythology figure holding the earth on his shoulder.

Rather the Brabantian* man who created the first modern book comprised of maps – the atlas.  It was titled Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the World).  This atlas was issued first in Antwerp in 1570 on this day.

He is Abraham Ortelius.

How did one sell maps and then atlases in those days?  One needed to know and cultivate rich enough people.  Also, Ortelius frequented the Frankfurt Book Fair to sell his atlas.  He also met fellow cartographers and geographers there, who then not surprisingly later copied his works…

Here is one of Ortelius’s maps from his atlas, this one being the map of Cyprus.

 *The Dutchy of Brabant was part of the Holly Roman Empire comprising of today’s southern Netherlands and northern Belgium.

The map of Cyprus (Credit Steve Kovacs)

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.