Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

  

WORLD MAP MEDAL

by Halliday, T.?: England,  c.1820, White Metal, 74 mm
Obv:
Western hemisphere showing North and South America with continents and other land masses and bodies of water labeled as they were known in the early 19th century. These include New Albion (anachronistic) in the Western United States, New Saledonia (now New Caledonia), Jugo (much of the southern portion of South America), and the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii)
Rev:
Eastern Hemisphere with continents and other land masses and bodies of water labeled as they were known in the early 19th century. These include, among others, New Holland (Australia), Van Diemanís Land (Tasmania), and Barbary in North Africa (now Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya)
Ref:
Rulau E9;  Eimer 1139a;  Weiss BW657

The projection system used on this medal was originally created by the Dutch cartographer Gerard Mercator, the man best known for the Mercator Projection. Gerard Mercator was born in Rupelmonde, Flanders, in 1512, and in his 80 years of life, he fundamentally changed the way people looked at maps and at the world. In 1569, Mercator unveiled his famous projection, a new way of making a map that was designed to show accurate distances between various points.

Like so many other scientists of the period, Mercator was persecuted for his religious beliefs. His inclination towards Protestantism caused him to move for a time from Louvain to Antwerp, partly to avoid inquiry into his religious views, but in 1544 he was arrested and prosecuted for heresy. Though he himself escaped serious consequences, two of the forty-two arrested with him were burnt, one beheaded, and two buried alive.

This map medal has a projection system similar to that made by the grandson of Gerard Mercator, Michael Mercator, commemorating Sir Francis Drake's voyage (1577-1580).

The medal is thought to have been engraved by T. Halliday and struck by  E. Thomason.

LINK to Sir Francis Drake (from Royal Museums Greenwich)

LINK to Mercator Silver Medal of the World (British Museum)

LINK to Biography of Gerard Mercator (from NNDB)

LINK to Biography of Gerard Mercator (from Mark Monmonier)

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