Nicolas Sanson

Nicolas Sanson d’Abbeville (1600-67) was perhaps the greatest cartographer of 17th century France—a period of France’s political ascendancy in Europe, and also a period in which French cartographers displaced the Dutch as Europe’s leading map makers.

As a young man, he attracted the attention of Cardinal Richelieu and in time became Géographe Ordinaire du Roi for Louis XIII and Louis XIV, both of whom he personally instructed in geography. Under Louis XIII, Sanson was made a minister of state. Sanson has become known as the “father of French cartography,” and his influence is such that the sinusoidal projection that he used has become known as the “Sanson-Flamsteed projection,” recognizing the influence of Sanson (Flamsteed was English astronomer royal from 1675 to his death in 1719).

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