Terrestrial globe on a wooden stand, 1599.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 26cm x 32cm

Terrestrial globe on a wooden stand, 1599.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


This terrestrial globe was made by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Dutch were the first to make printed globes in large numbers and introduced the distinctive four-legged globe stand. The terrestrial globe is a three-dimensional depiction of the Earth showing its geography and the political boundaries of its nations. Like its celestial counterpart, the terrestrial globe was used to teach and demonstrate various astronomical principles. It could be used to illustrate the Earth's rotation and to explain the basis of day and night. Likewise, the user could calculate the time of sunset and sunrise anywhere on the Earth. This view is centred on the Pacific Ocean and shows all the discoveries that had been made at this time.

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