Early Concept of the North Magnetic Pole
The concept of the North Magnetic Pole arose from the desire of early European navigators to explain the directional properties of the compass. The compass was in use in China at least as early as the 1st century and appears to have been imported into Europe by the 12th century; the earliest European reference dates from 1190. However, whereas the Chinese considered the compass a south-pointing device, Europeans considered it north-pointing. This change in orientation would prove important in the development of theories about the nature of the Magnetic Pole.
The first detailed descriptions of both a floating and a pivoted compass appeared in the Epistola of Petrus Perigrinus written in 1269. In this remarkable work Perigrinus did more than just describe the construction of a compass. He described experiments performed on a sphere of lodestone, predating the more famous work of William Gilbert by more than 300 years. Peregrinus made three important discoveries....Read on...http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/nmp/early_nmp_e.php
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