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John Ogilby


One of the most colorful characters of his day, John Ogilby began his career as a masquerade dancer in Charles I’s Court. An unfortunate injury forced him to retire from the stage, but he went on to make a living as a dance master and theatre manager in London. Having narrowly survived a shipwreck, Ogilby established himself as a publisher of the classics. He conducted a lucrative trade until his business was consumed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, leaving him penniless and destitute. At the grand age of seventy, Ogilby established himself as a mapmaker and publisher, and within a few years had published large volumes on America, Africa, China, Japan, and Asia. Like his America, these works were translations of Montanus’ texts published by Jacob Van Meurs in Amsterdam, and included maps and views copied from earlier sources. Considered one of the most important English cartographers of the seventeenth century, Ogilby became known as the inventor of the strip map and produced the first road maps of England and Wales.