A detail from the Catalan Atlas

The Mallorcan School of Cartography. The Cresque Family. III.
Mansa Musa, African king of Mali, from the Catalan Atlas
c.1326 - 1387
Member of a Jewish family established in Mallorca for several generations, it is not known if the family originated from Catalonia or North Africa. The Aragon royal archives include references to Ferrer Cresques, a physician and Vidal Cresques a high-ranking civil servant. Enjoying a brilliant reputation at court where he was the king's magister mappamundorum et bruxolarum, he was commissioned by Don Juan of Aragon to make a map of the world for Charles VI. There is a letter dated 5th November 1381 which includes a reference to Crespi lo Juheu qui lodit mapamundi a fet (Cresques the Jew who made said map of the world). This cannot be a reference to the Catalan Atlas which was already catalogued as being in the library of Charles V, in the inventory by Gilles Malet in 1380, hence the doubt in attributing it to Abraham Cresques. It is known that he made other maps of this type for the kings of France and Aragon in 1381, 1382 and 1387.

His son Yehud (Jaffuda) Cresques, converted to Christianity in 1391 along with many other Mallorcan Jews and took the name of Jaume Ribe (Jacobus Ribes). He also enjoyed the king's patronage and became the magister cartorum navigandi at court. According to the Aragon archives, he received a commission in 1389. He continued to produce maps until the late fourteenth century. He is though by some scholars to be the same Mestre Jacome de Malhorca who was present at the court of Henry the Navigator in Portugal in 1419, and who is considered to be the transitional figure between Catalan cartography and the emerging Portuguese School.

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