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School Officials Are Throwing Out Every World Map For One Controversial Purpose


Maps have been an essential part of our lives for centuries. The first map that we had was in the stars. The diagrams of the constellations helped us to track the passage of the seasons. Ancient civilizations began using mapping techniques to identify cities and plots of land. This was essential in preventing ownership disputes. One of the oldest maps in existence is a stone table that shows a plot of land in the Babylonian city of Nippur.

The Age of Exploration

During the age of exploration, maps were relied upon to navigate oceans and continents. The discoveries that were made along way helped to develop the maps that we have today and also developed cartography as a science. At this point, the interest in map-making had grown exponentially. There were many perspectives regarding what the layout of the Earth looked like, but nobody could be sure whose version was accurate.

Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator was a cartographer with a lifetime of mapping experience. In 1569, he was sure that his map was the closest thing to what the world really looked like. His map was called the Mercator projection, and it maintained a constant width by drawing vertical meridians and horizontal parallels. It was essential in helping sailors and improved the way that they circumnavigated the oceans. At first, the adoption of the Mercator was slow; however, by the end of the 17th century, it was the most widely used map in the world. Because exploration was flourishing, cartographers were sure that they finally had a grasp of what the world really looked like.

The Mercator Map Today

Over time, Mercator’s map was adopted as the official map of the world. In school, teachers use pull-down maps of the world for their students to see, and it is Mercator’s version. It is printed on pamphlets, on globes, and even the maps used by the GPS navigation system are Mercator projections. Unfortunately, the Mercator projection is wrong. For centuries, this has been our view of the world, and it has been a lie. People are so sure that this map is inaccurate that people are ignoring it. School officials are throwing out every world map for one controversial purpose.


The reason that the map is considered to be wrong is that it lays out our three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional rectangle, which significantly distorts the size of the continents. This is especially true with the landmasses that further from the equator like Greenland.

What Is Wrong With Greenland?

According to Mercator’s map, Greenland is as big as Africa, almost making Greenland its own continent. However, Greenland may be the world’s largest island; it is only 1/14th the size of Africa. It is even smaller than the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fact that Greenland is the same size as Africa on a map is misleading.


Austria has the opposite problem. It appears smaller than the United States and most European countries on a map. In reality, Australia dwarfs the United States and almost every country in Europe. Many people believe that these inaccuracies were simply a miscalculation; however, some believe that Mercator’s distortions were intentional.

Size Equaled Power

During the early times of mapmaking, colonialism had a significant influence. Back then, size equaled power. Because of this, European mapmakers distorted the projections to make dominant countries look larger, and colonial territories like India and Africa look much smaller. Africa had a colonial history, and it appears smaller than most places on the map. In reality, you can fit China, Japan, the United States, and most of Europe within Africa’s borders. This is a pretty big mistake to make, which is why many believe that Mercator did this intentionally.

Gall-Peterson Projection

As more and more people took notice of the Mercator map’s shortcomings, efforts have been made to create something more accurate. Most schools in Boston have tossed out their old maps in favor of the Gall-Peterson projection. It was created by James Gall, and it shows the sizes of the landmasses relative to each other. The map may look a bit odd, but it gives a more accurate idea of how large the continents really are.

Phasing Out

Since the Gall-Peterson projection has been introduced, Mercator’s map has been phased out. Teachers want to show their students the continents and their correct sizes, rather than using Mercator’s version, where he wanted people to believe that certain areas were larger for power and wealth. Since colonialism no longer exists, and size does not equal strength, there is no reason to falsify the sizes of the continents. Teachers want their students to understand what the world really looks like as opposed to what Mercator wanted people to think the world looked like.

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