Map of the world by Fra Mauro, 1459 Spain, Portugal and Northern Africa. Fra Mauro was a 15th-century Venetian monk. In his youth, Mauro traveled as a merchant and a soldier. Although he was no longer free to travel, due to his religious status, he would consult with merchants of the city upon their return from voyages. By 1450 he composed a great mappamundi with surprising accuracy, including extensive written comments reflecting the geographic knowledge of his time.