Guillaume Le Testu ~ 1555

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     Guillaume Le Testu was born around 1509 at Le Havre in Normandy. He was a member of the cartographic school of Dieppe, which flourished in the middle of the sixteenth century. Le Testu died as a result of wounds suffered in a raid, with Sir Francis Drake, on a Spanish treasure train in 1573.
     The souvenir sheet is based on one of the maps of the manuscript atlas, Cosmographie Universelle selon le navigateurs, tant anciens que modernes, of 1555 (or 1556), which was made by Le Testu for Gaspard de Coligny, a leader of the French Huguenots, who had been made an admiral in the French navy in 1552. It was based on a collection of charts from French, Spanish and Portuguese sources, furnished by the Admiral. The maps vary widely in accuracy and contain inhabitants, animals and plants, many of them quite imaginary.
      I have not been able to identify the specific map in the atlas used on the stamp. Near the bottom, under the name “Magallan” there appears the following words: Royal Me De Ginganton. The sheet is used to honor Fernando Magellan, so perhaps it is a map of one of his discoveries. Since it was believed by some that the land south of the tip of South America was inhabited by giants, these may be referred to by the inscription on the map. The sheet was issued in 1975.

SCN 75176

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