In the same way most people are unaware how ecological niches are rate on earth, even fewer realize that the world map we take for granted is not actually true as how it is constructed.

The most common and standard world map (in the left picture underneath) is also the world map that everyone studies and learns in geography classes around the world. It was designed by a flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator around 1600. Commissioned bij men in Europe, when Europe was considered as the centre of the world. In order to create a 2-dimensional world map from a 3-dimensional globe there must be a certain amount of distortion. In Mercator’s case he abused that license to distort for the benefit of his European employers. He produced a world map with a decidedly European centre’s viewpoint and was strongly racist overtones. Europe was shown at it’s centre which, no one would have objected to in 1600. Yet the generations who have unknowingly used it since then still have no idea of what went in to turning small Europe well north of the equator into large and imposing Europe seemingly at the centre of the world.

The 18.9 million square miles inhabited by Mercator’s northern hemisphere compatriots are shown on his map as much larger then the 38.6 million square miles south of the equator. Which are primarily inhabited by the black and brown population. In reality China is over 4 times the size of Greenland. But Mercator’s map shows China as substantially smaller. Scandinavia with only 0.4 million square miles is shown dwarfing India’s 1.3 million square miles, which is three times larger. Alaska’s diminutive 0.6 million square miles are drawn much larger then Mexico’s 0.7 million square miles. Perhaps the most egregious distortion is found when comparing the inflated 8.6 million square miles of the old Soviet Union to the greatly diminished 11.6 million square miles of Africa.

This Mercator map is the same map still used today in programs like Google Maps. Something millions of people rely on every single day. Were all completely convinced that it accurately represents what our world actually looks like. We know it represents the truth to us, even though it never has. So now it seems as a good time top stop arrogantly assuming what we know is always and forever correct, and to instead start thinking for ourselves.

Mercator projection of the World map

Mercator projection of the World map

Peters projection of the World Map

Peters projection of the World Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I the second picture above you find a much more realistic world map considering the actual size of the continents. This type of projection is called the Gall-Peters projection of the world map. Watch the funny movie about the Peters projection underneath to make everything more understandable for yourself.