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Jehuda Cresques (1350?-1427?), also known as Jafudà Cresques, Jaume Riba, and Cresques lo Jeheu ("Cresques the Jew") was a Catalan cartographer, and probably the man who coordinated the discoveries of the Portuguese naval school at Sagres in the early 15th century.

Son of Abraham Cresques, a famous Jewish cartographer, he was born in Majorca in present-day Spain. Together he and his father were the probable authors of the famous Catalan Atlas of 1375.

Cresques' work was highly sought after; in 1390 John I of Aragon paid the princely sum of 60 livres and 8 sous for one of his maps. After the Aragonese persecutions of 1391 he converted to Christianity, at which time he took the name Jaume Riba (Jacobus Ribus, in Latin). he appears to have remained in Majorca for a considerable time and to have become known to the people there as "lo Juen buscoler" (the map Jew), or "el jueu de les bruixoles" (the compass Jew). In 1419 Henry the Navigator, the second son of King John I of Portugal, established a naval observatory at Sagres and summoned a Mestre Jacome de Malhorca to be its coordinator. Most authorities accept that this Jacome was, in fact, Jehuda Cresques.

Bibliography

  • Quadrado, in Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia, xix.299, 309;
  • Hamy, in Bulletin de Géographie, 1891, pp. 218-222;
  • Meyer Kayserling, Christopher Columbus, pp. 5-8;
  • Jacobs, Story of Geographical Discovery, pp. 60-62.
  • Rey Pastor and García Camarero, La Cartografía Mallorquina, 1960, pp. 56-61.
  • Riera i Sans, Jaume, "Jafudà Cresques, jueu de Mallorca", in Randa n. 5 (1977) 51-66.
  • Riera i Sans, Jaume - Gabriel Llompart, "Jafudà Cresques i Samuel Corcós. Més documents sobre els jueus pintors de cartes de navegar (Mallorca, s. XIV)", in Bolletí de la Societat Arqueològica Lul·liana n. 40 (1984) 341-350.
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