The Earliest Obtainable Map of the Eastern United States and Canada
Nice dark impression of Giacomo Gastaldi's important map of the East Coast of North America, the first "modern" printed map of the east coast of North America.
Gastaldi's map is the first printed map to incorporate, in meaningful detail, the results of Verrazzano's 1524 explorations along the coast of North America, which established the existence of a contiguous coast from Florida to Nova Scotia. Gastaldi's map is also the first to attempt to reconcile Verrazzano's reports with the reports from Cartier's voyages to the Maritimes and Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the 1530s. As such, it was the first attempt at a regional map of the East Coast.
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.
Verrazano originally landed on the coast near Cape Fear, headed south briefly, before turning northward and sailing as far as the coast of Maine, then back to France. Tierra De Nurumberg is an early reference to New England. Following Gastaldi's work, Ruscelli's map is largely unchanged, except for the extension of the rivers and the depiction of the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers as joining each other, which is based upon Ramusio.
The map is one of the "modern" maps to appear in Giacomo Gastaldi's La Geografia and was one of the two earliest regional maps of America.
Giacomo Gastaldi (1500-1566) is considered the foremost Italian cartographer of the sixteenth century, alongside Paolo Forlani. His skills of compilation are comparable to those of Mercator and Ortelius, yet much less is known of his life than of his two contemporaries. Gastaldi was born in Villafranca, Piedmont, but had established himself in Venice by 1539. He originally worked as an engineer, but turned to mapmaking from the 1540s onward.
It was in Venice where he made his reputation as an engraver, geographer, and cosmographer; for example, he was asked to fresco maps of Asia and Africa in the Palace of the Doge, or the Council of Ten, Venice’s governmental body. He also frequently consulted on projects for the Savi sopra la Laguna, drawing maps for this body which oversaw the regulation of fresh and salt water around Venice.
His contemporaries also recognized his skill, as he was named cosmographer to the Republic of Venice, was a member of the Accademia Veneziana, and was a major source for other geographers and mapmakers including Camocio, Bertelli, Cock, Luchini, and Ortelius. He even had his own distinct style of copper engraving that made him a pioneer in his day and makes his works iconic today.
Gastaldi enjoyed an especially productive relationship with Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Secretary of the Venetian Senate, who used Gastaldi's maps for his famous travel account collection, Navigationi et Viaggi. Gastaldi also tutored Ramusio's son in cosmography.