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[Gastaldi, Giacomo] 

 La Nvova Francia [New France]

Publication information: 
Venice:  Ramusio, 1556

Woodcut, 28 x 38 cm.

New England--Maps--Early works to 1800
Canada--Maps--Early works to 1800

1.  Published in v. III of Ramusio's Navigationi e Viaggi.
2. Digital image derived from slide of map held by the John Carter Brown Library. Contact John Carter Brown Library for reproduction rights.

Giacomo di Gastaldi

La Nuova Francia [New France], 1556

     Gastaldi’s map of New France is the earliest printed map focusing on what is now northeastern Canada and the United States. Published in the third volume of J.B. Ramusio's Viagi (Voyages), it is largely based on the voyages of Cartier and Verrazzano. The Hudson River, the St. Lawrence River, and the islands near the Gulf of St. Lawrence are the most prominent features on this map. A curious snake-like projection in the Atlantic Ocean has been the subject of much speculation. It is probably an attempt to depict the Grand Banks.  An “Island of Sand” (Isola della Rena) is part of this feature--possibly it is Sable Island. The depiction of the area between New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay is based on the voyage of Verrazzano in 1524. The area around New York Harbor is named Angoulesme. The large bay to the east of New York Harbor is probably Jamaica Bay, which was more open to the ocean at that time. Long Island, which Verrazzano thought was a peninsula, is labeled Flora. Newport Bay is Port Real on the map, and Narragansett Bay is Port du Refuge. Block Island appears as Brisa. Note that the Hudson River is shown joining the St Lawrence. Rivers crossing watersheds like this appear on several early maps of the Northeast. This curious feature may derive from the use of information gathered from Native American informants. Some early maps drawn by American Indians show canoe routes, and do not distinguish between waterways and portages. Natives traveled along the Lake Champlain corridor between the Hudson and St. Lawrence rivers.  Europeans had not yet explored this area.


Burden, Mapping of North America , no. 35

Cohen, Manhattan in Maps , 18-19

Wroth, Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano


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Revised 9/5/00