5 December, 1594: Gerardus Mercator (Gerhard Kremer), above, Flemish geographer and cartographer, died in Duisburg. His 'Mercator projection' of the earth's surface, which represented the earth as a cylinder with equally spaced meridians and parallel latitudes spaced farther apart as distance from the equator increases, was of great significance to mariners. Astonishingly, this ingenious, but totally distorted, representation has remained the basis of map- making, and our perception of the world, ever since.
1697: First Sunday service in new St Paul's Cathedral.
1791: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died of typhus.
1872: Mary Celeste found abandoned in the Atlantic on its way to Genoa with a cargo of alcohol.
1933: Repeal of alcohol prohibition in America.
1958: First motorway in Britain opened; first STD phonecall made.Reuse content