The Prime Meridian

By W.G. Perrin, published May 1927

Abstract

Why did Greenwich become the datum point for the measurement of longitude and what meridians were used before it? The earliest meridians were the product of mapping the world, initially by Eratosthenes.   Ptolemy attempted to establish a prime meridian through the Canary Islands being the most westerly land known.   Through the 16th century most maps located the prime meridian in the vicinity of the Canary Islands until following Mercator there were several vain attempts to situate the meridian along a line of zero compass variation.   Subsequently most countries adopted nationally based meridians.   The proliferation of meridians was finally resolved in favour of Greenwich at an international conference in 1884.

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Filed under: Antiquity | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

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