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Munster, Sebastian

Sebastian Münster (1489-1552) was one of the leading cartographers of the sixteenth century. His two major works, Ptolemy's Geographia (1540-1552) and Cosmographia Universalis (1544-1628), printed from woodblocks, were published in Basle by his step-son, Henri Petri, with editions continuing after Münster's death of the plague. Cosmographia, which included views of prominent towns and cities in Germany and elsewhere, was one of the most popular works of the 16th century, extending to 24 editions. Unusually, much of the content had been crowdsourced through an appeal to other scholars for descriptions of such places, an appeal which had included instructions on how to map their localities. Munster was the first cartographer to publish separate maps of each of the four known continents - Asia, Europe, Africa and America