Caracas Venezuela

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     Spain and Venezuela both issued stamps to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of Caracas. Both stamps display a map and the maps are so similar that there is clearly a connection between them. In 1561 Juan Rodrigue Suárez founded a town on the site of a ranch belonging to Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and an Indian chief’s daughter. The town was soon destroyed by the Indians. In 1566 the region was conquered and resettled. Diego de Losada refounded the town in 1567 and gave it the name Santiago de León de Caracas in honor of St. James the Apostle, the patron saint of Spain, Don Pedro Ponce de León, the provincial governor, and the Caracas Indians who lived in the vicinity.

Juan de Pemintel ~ 1578

     The stamp of Venezuela is based on a map of the province and city of Caracas which, in turn, is based on a rough sketch by Juan de Pemintel, the governor of the province in 1578. It was redrawn in Spain and called Mapa-plano de Provincia y de la Cuidad de Santiago de León de Caracas. Pemintel wrote in his report, “The majority [of the buildings] that now stand in this city of Santiago are of low adobe walls, with roofs of cane shoots. Within the last two or three years they have begun to construct here three or four houses of stone and brick and lime and mortar, with high roofs of tile.”

SCN C957

Diego de Henares

     The stamp of Spain shows a map attributed to Diego de Henares, the builder of Caracas. This map is so similar to that of Pemintel which almost certainly is the source of the sketch he sent to Spain. Pemintel’s sketch, or at least the map that was drawn from it includes more of the province, and the off-shore islands.

SCN 1551

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