Samana Cay

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Malagasy Republic 815

     In 1987 the Malagasy Republic issued a set of six stamps featuring several people associated with exploration and dates and locations of events associated with Columbus' exploration of the New World. The first stamp in the set honors Barthelemy Dias, and the departure of Columbus from Palos on August 3, 1492. The second, honors Henry the Navigator (1394-1460) and has a map of Samana Cay, one of the islands thought to be where Columbus made the first land-fall in the Western Hemisphere on October 12, 1492.
     The map on this stamp is based on one published in National Geographic, November 1986, pp. 570-571. The caption reads: "Samana Cay fits the description of the island that welcomed Niņa, Pinta and Santa Maria to what would become known as the New World. The ships are shown, anchored where a reef opens on the southwest side (the three black spots at the upper left of the island). In rowboats Columbus explored the island he named San Salvador and remarked on the geographic features and a large anchorage between the reef and the island (red track of exploration, above) and then departed. The identification of San Salvador has been hotly debated for two centuries.... A National Geographic field party later...identified features like those described in the log."
     A question raised by the stamp is what connection there is between Henry the Navigator  and Samana Cay and Columbus.

SCN 815

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