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Map of Asia and Maldives (top) by Fra Mauro 1459

Fra Mauro was a 15th century Venetian Camaldolese monk who kept his cartography workshop in the monastery of San Michel in Isola Murano, in the Venetian Lagoon. He was also a mapmaker, who in 1457 mapped the totality of the Old world with surprising accuracy, including extensive written comments reflecting the geographic knowledge of his time. The map is known today as the "Fra Mauro map".

Fra Mauro created the map under a commission by king Afonso V of Portugal. Andrea Bianco, a sailor-cartographer, is recorded as having collaborated with Fra Mauro in creating the map, as payments made to him between 1448 and 1459 testify. The map was completed on April 24, 1459, and sent to Portugal, but didn't survive. Along with the map was a letter from the ruler of Venice. It was for Prince Henry the Navigator, Alfonso V's uncle. It encouraged the prince to continue funding exploratory journeys. Fra Mauro died the next year while he was making a copy of the map for the Seignory of Venice, and the copy was completed by Andrea Bianco.

The Fra Mauro world map shows influences from Chinese geography, which can be traced to the information supplied by fellow-Venetian Niccolò Da Conti. These influences seem to include mistakes, such as a huge river from the center of Africa flowing into the Red Sea.
Wikipedia April 2009

The map is aligned South-North, upside down compared to modern maps. Maldives is in the top section.
Fra Mauro map - 1459

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