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One of the Earliest Printed Maps of the Northeastern Part of America

Nice example of Ruscelli's map of the East Coast of North America, extending from the Mid-Atlantic to the Canadian Coastline.

This is the second printed map to focus on the region, pre-dated only by Gastaldi's map of 1548.

The map shows the discoveries of Cartier and Verrazzano. The reference to Larcadia in the map is from Verrazzano and has been determined to be Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, by Morison. Angoulesme (New York Harbor), Flora (Long Island), and P Refuge (Narragansett Bay), are also from Verrazzano's explorations. Verrazzano originally landed on the coast near Cape Fear, headed south briefly, before turning northward and sailing as far as the coast of Maine, before heading back to France. Tierra De Nuremberg is an early reference to New England.

Ruscelli's map is based upon a 1548 map of the same title, published in Giacomo Gastaldi's, Geografia, and was one of the two earliest regional maps of America (along with Nueva Hispania Tabula Nova). Ruscelli's map is the second earliest map to focus on the East Coast of North America.

There are 3 states of the map:

  • State 1 (1561):  No plate mark across the top, above the printed image
  • State 2 (1574):  Plate mark visible across top
  • State 3 (1598):  Sailing ship and sea monster in the Atlantic.

An essential map for collectors of early American maps.

Girolamo Ruscelli Biography

Girolamo Ruscelli (1500-1566) was a cartographer, humanist, and scholar from Tuscany. Ruscelli was a prominent writer and editor in his time, writing about a wide variety of topics including the works of Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch, Italian language, Italian poetry, medicine, alchemy, and militia. One of his most notable works was a translation of Ptolemy’s Geographia which was published posthumously.

There is limited information available about Ruscelli’s life. He was born in the Tuscan city of Viterbo to a family of modest means. He was educated at the University of Padua and moved between Rome and Naples until 1548, when he moved to Naples to work in a publishing house as a writer and proofreader. He remained in the city until his death in 1566.