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The Americas

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Abraham Ortelius (Abraham Ortelius) (April 14, 1527 – June 28, 1598) was a Flemish cartographer and geographer, generally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World). He is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined together before drifting to their present positions. In 1564 he completed a "mappemonde", eight-leaved map of the world, which afterwards appeared in reduced form in the Theatrum. The only extant copy of this great map is in the library of the University of Basel. On May 20, 1570, Gilles Coppens de Diest at Antwerp issued Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the "first modern atlas" (of 53 maps). Three Latin editions of this (besides a Dutch, a French and a German edition) appeared before the end of 1572; twenty-five editions came out before Ortelius' death in 1598; and several others were published subsequently, for the atlas continued to be in demand until about 1612