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John Ogilby

John Ogilby (1600-1676) was a British writer and cartographer.

He was born in or near Edinburgh in November 1600. His father was a prisoner within the jurisdiction of the King's Bench (see High Court of England and Wales), presumably for bankruptcy or debt, but by speculation the son found money to apprentice himself to a dancing master and to obtain his father's release.

He accompanied Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, when he went to Ireland as lord deputy, and became tutor to his children. Strafford made him deputy-Master of the Revels, and he built the Theatre Royale in St Werburgh Street, Dublin, Ireland, which was very successful.

The outbreak of the English Civil War ruined his fortunes, and in 1646 he returned to England. Finding his way to Cambridge, he learned Latin from kindly scholars who had been impressed by his industry. He then ventured to translate Virgil into English verse (1649-1650), which brought him a considerable sum of money. The success of this attempt encouraged Ogilby to learn Greek from David Whitford, who was usher in the school kept by James Shirley the dramatist.

His property was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but he rebuilt his house in Whitefriars, and set up a printing press, from which he issued many magnificent books, the most important of which were a series of atlases, with engravings and maps by Hollar and others. He styled himself "His Majesty's Cosmographer and Geographic Printer."

He died in London on the 4th of September 1676.