The compass opened the world to exploration and discovery. Invented in China thousands of years ago, it was primarily used by priests, hired to advise on how and where to build. Today the compass still is a basic tool, a magnetized needle rotating on a vertical pin, pointing at the Earth’s magnetic North. 16th century sailors accustomed to following coastlines, could suddenly cross oceans. Sailors now devised a compass course, while still using their age-old knowledge of steering by fixed stars, ocean currents and prevailing winds to establish position.
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