Mecia de Viladestes

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     Mecia de Viladestes was a Catalan cartographer from the island of Majorca. He was probably a Jew, as were most of the cartographers from Majorca. He was authorized by a Majorcan license to land in Sicily in January 1401, which supports the notion that he was a Jew.

    The stamp is based on the map drawn by Viladestes in 1413. The legend beneath the stamp reads "Bakari II Sur La Carte De Cacades." The last two words have been overprinted with a black bar because the attribution was incomplete.

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    The original map shows a great deal more than the portion represented on the stamp. several cities and oases, as well as water courses and mountain ranges in northern Africa are pictured on the stamp. The two major figures on the map are "Rex Bubeder," a nomad chief mounted on a camel and bearing a royal title, but lacking the insignia of office, and "Rex Musameli," a Mandingo emperor, master of the gold of the Sudan. The ship off the west coast of Africa is that of Jacme Ferrer, flying the Aragonese flag.

     In those parts that are comparable, the map resembles the atlas created in 1375 for Charles V by Abraham Cresques of Majorca. The map was originally preserved in the convent of Val de Cristo near Segorbe, but is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

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