[La Nuova Francia]
GASTALDI/RAMUSIO, Published 1556 (1606)
Image Size: 10 1/2" X 14 5/8"
Giacomo Gastaldi’s rare 2nd state untitled rare map of La Nuova Francia, first published in Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s Terzo volume delle Navigationi et Viaggi, Venice 1556, and re-printed in 1565 and 1606, provides a rudimentary sketch of the Northeast region and is a fine example of the attempt by early cartographers to forge a new portrayal of a changing world view. The second state appeared after a fire destroyed the first woodblock and can be differentiated by weeping willows near New York Harbour and the presence on the woodblock of the occasional worm damage.
Although the St-Lawrence is incorrectly drawn to show a western flow into the Hudson River, the regions bountiful potential is beautifully drawn with depictions of the early Cod fisheries and the hunting grounds in and around Terra Nuova (Newfoundland) and Terra de Nurumbega (New England). Gastaldi’s map is the first pictorial documentation of the claims made by the French to the Northern regions of North America as well as being the “best surviving early map to illustrate Verrazano’s discovery of New York Harbour.” As such, the source material used by Gastaldi comes from the early exploration to the region by both Jacques Cartier and Giovanni de Verrazzano, who both sailed under Francis I of France. In fact, Gastaldi’s map is the first to name the region surrounding the St-Lawrence as New France and Manhattan is referred to as Angloulesme, a name that would fall from general use. Although no mention is made on this map of the failed attempts by Cartier to set up a viable colony at Charlesbourg-Royal (present day Cap Rouge) during his third voyage in 1541, the French would later use their claims to the region as the nexus on which their North American colonial empire would be founded. It is also of interest to note that in 1580, Ramusio’s landmark work would be translated into english by John Florio, prior to any version of this work appearing in french, so as to entice public support in Britain for its own nascent exploration attempts.
(Sources: BRM item 2108, Burden, Mapping of North America #35. BLR item 19429, Cohen & Augustyn, Kershaw #15b. Barnes, J.R., Giovanni Battista Ramusio and the History of Discoveries, JCBL exhibition The Early French Exploration & Settlement: Inventing New France, by Susan Danforth)