Sure, every rectangular map projection will have some degree of misrepresentation, but how is it that a map that so warps the northern and Southern Hemispheres by many magnitudes be used so popularly? How is it so easy to accept the imaccuracy of the almost contienent like Greenland, and the very miniature Africa? How did this happen? Why Mercator? Mercator was and is a very useful map projection for navigation, because straight lines on the map translate to straight lines (constant bearing) in the real world. It has been widely used for this purpose for hundreds of years. I suspect that its widespread use was the main factor leading to its adoption as some sort of standard world map. It was the map everyone was most familiar with, so it naturally got the most exposure. It’s also important to realise that the Mercator projection is not inaccurate. Every map projection (not just rectangular projections) by definition distorts some aspect or aspects of the world. It’s simply not possible to have a perfect projection. So to sum up: Mercator is a unique and highly useful projection, so it’s not surprising that it gained so much traction. The problem is rather in its use for purposes for which it’s not really suitable. Partly colonial influence and partly geometric simplicity. As you stated, the Mercator projection inflates the scale of Northern Hemisphere continents, such that they fulfil the perception of being bigger, or more important. There’s a segment of the West Wing which discusses this (go look it up). Its used for nautical purposes as it preserves the angles & shape of small objects on any map, which makes the projection of our globe conformal. World maps in mercator projection are used in classrooms but not at the working marine level. Ships that ply the waterways of the world carry charts in mercator projection at scales that minimize the distortion of the map by using the approximate middle latitude on the chart as the scaling latitude rather than the equator. This works well everywhere except high latitudes. Harbours and narrow waterways may be 1:2,000 to 1:20,000, Approach charts 1:20,000 to 1:50,000, Coastal charts 1:50,000 to 1:150,000, … The distortion at these scales may be the thickness of a line and certainly good enough for experienced mariners. Using the Mercator projection as an example, describe what can happen when a map projection is used for a purpose for which it is not designed… Using the Mercator projection as an example, describe what can happen when a map projection is used for a purpose for which it is not designed… Source.