The World Map You've Known All Your Life Is Now Considered Wrong

Some schools have started using the new map as a decolonizing effort.
IMAGE Wikipedia Commons

Of all the lies we were told at school—'it's the taking part that counts', 'just be yourself', 'Pluto is a planet'—perhaps the most pernicious is that the world looks like this:

The Mercator projection map: not accurate

Because it doesn't.

This version—the 'Mercator projection map' used in geography classes since roughly 1569—is in fact totally inaccurate, because is shows the northern hemisphere of North American and Europe as way bigger than they really are.

As anyone who got into leftie politics in their teenage years—or just watched The West Wing—probably realized at some point, the map we know like the back of our hands is but a piece of imperialist propaganda designed to make us in dominant Western superpowers feel bigger and more important than we are.

What you really want to look at is the Gall-Peters projection [top] which shows land mass in true proportion. As you can see, South American dwarfs North American and the continent of Africa is f-ing huge.


Why are we talking about this now, given the Gall-Peters corrective has been around since 1974?

Because over in America, Boston has introduced it into its public school system, meaning pupils there will be the first in history to see the world as it really is – all as part of a "three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools" as Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps, told the Guardian.

Given that over 85% of Boston's students are non-white, there is perhaps no surprise appetite for the change exists and perhaps it will inspire other parts of the world to consider doing the same.

That's assuming American president Donald Trump doesn't find out, denounce the Gall-Peters map as SAD and FAKE on Twitter and pass an executive order ordering all maps of the world are burnt, of course.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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