Fra Mauro was an Italian cartographer who lived in the Republic of Venice. He created the most detailed and accurate map of the world up until that time, the Fra Mauro map.
Mauro was a monk of the Camaldolese Monastery of St. Michael, located on the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. It was there that he maintained a cartography workshop. He also was employed by some very powerful men like Prince Henry the Navigator.
The Fra Mauro world map, or mappa mundi, was a major cartographical work that compiled much of the geographical knowledge of the time. The map covers over five square meters. The map is extremely detailed and contains many thousands of texts and illustrations. The world map took several years to complete and was the most detailed and accurate world map that had been produced up until that time.
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 24 April 1459, and sent to Portugal, but that copy did not survive. Along with the map was a letter from the Doge of Venice. It was intended for Prince Henry the Navigator, Afonso V's uncle. It encouraged the prince to continue funding exploratory journeys. Fra Mauro died the following year, while he was making a copy of the map for the Signoria of Venice. The copy was completed by Andrea Bianco. A commemorative medal of the period struck in honor of his cartographic work describes Fra Mauro as "chosmographus incomparabilis"....
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