First state of Ruscelli's regional map of the Southern half of the United States and Mexico, including Florida and Texas.
Ruscelli's map is an enlarged version of Giacomo Gastaldi's map of 1548, except that the Yucatan is no longer shown as an Island. It is the second earliest obtainable map of the Southern half of the US. Not until Wyfliet's maps of 1597 would a better regional representation appear in a printed map. R. Spiritu Santu appears (Mississippi River). California is shown as a Peninsula. The R. Tontonteanc is either the Gila or the Colorado River. Florida and Cuba are named. The placenames reflect the explorations of Pineda, Cabeza de Vaca, and Moscosso.
Perhaps the most influential map of the southwest during the 16th Century.
The second state of the map (1574 and after) can be distinguished from the first by the plate mark running across the bottom of the printed image. In the first state, Tierra Nueva and Nueva Hispania Tabula Nova were printed from a single plate. The third state of the map (1598 and after) adds a ship, with new place names, including Siera Nevad, Calmifor, Mare Pacificum and Golfo Mexicano.
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.