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The first printed plan of an American town. Jacques Cartier, the great French explorer, visited the village of Hochelaga on the island of Montreal in 1535. The village was near a mountain the explorer named Mount Royal or Monte Real. His account was published in the third volume of Ramusio's Delle navigationi et viaggi in 1556 along with this woodcut illustration based on the narrative. The map includes many of the things described by Cartier: significant advance in the mapping of the American West, calling it an advance of the first importance. The map reflects the lack of knowledge in the Northern parts of the Hemisphere, but does note the Strait of Magellan and retains the mythical large welcome is depicted in the clasping of hands by a Frenchman (presumably Cartier) and a native chief, and the advantage of two-story fortifications is demonstrated. The lodges within the fort are exceedingly symmetrical, but with each family unit indicated by a fire, they were probably intended to indicate that they were both single family and multiple family or extended family dwellings. It is not clear who the Hochelagans were, although most likely either Huron or Iriquois. The village was gone by the time Champlain arrived. Ganong, Crucial Maps p. 303-314; Goss, he Mapping of North America #7.

Giovanni Battista Ramusio Biography

Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557) was an Italian geographer who worked within the Venetian Empire. His father had been a magistrate and he himself served as a civil servant to Venice. He served throughout Europe, allowing him to build up a network of informants and a collection of travel materials. He compiled this information into his enduring masterpiece, Navigationi et Viaggi, in 1550 (first volume) and 1556 (third volume). The second volume appeared after his death in 1559, as the original manuscript had been destroyed by a fire.