Rare First Edition of the First Published Plan of a Settlement in North America
"La Terra de Hochelaga Nella Nova Francia", Gastaldi/Ramusio
Subject: Montreal, Canada
Period: 1556 (published)
Publication: Terzo Volume delle Navigationi et Viaggi
Color: Black & White
14.9 x 10.9 inches
37.8 x 27.7 cm
This is the first published plan of a settlement in North America, and the first plan of the site of Montreal showing the Indian settlement, Hochelaga, visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535-36. Cartier was a French explorer and is credited with being the first European to map the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence River. During Cartier's first trip to the new world in 1534, he explored Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence in an attempt to discover a western passage to Asia. On his second voyage in 1535-36, Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River reaching the Iroquoian capital of Stadacona, which later became Quebec City, and then continued further upriver to Hochelaga, arriving on October 2, 1535. Cartier described the Indian village as being near Mont Real, a great and fertile mountain surrounded by many types of trees, including oaks, elms, walnut, cedars, firs, and willows. The name Monte Real appears to the left of the village, and is the first appearance of the name on a map.
The village is laid out in a circular form and protected by wooden barriers. The house-like structures in the village are arranged in a geometrical pattern, with a fire depicted in the middle of each structure. Cartier and his crew are pictured in the foreground being greeted by their Indian hosts. Various types of trees are depicted, as well as several animals and what appears to be a corn field at top left.
The map was first published in Giovanni Battista Ramusio's Navigationi et Viaggi in 1556. This is the rare first edition from the first woodblock, which was destroyed by fire in 1557. It is distinguished from other editions by its rounded trees and the transparent smoke of the fire. The page numbers 446 and 447 appear above the neatline.
References: Goss #7; Kershaw #16; cf. Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #641 Vol. III #8; Schwartz & Ehrenberg, plt. 28; cf. Shirley (BL Atlases) G.RAMU-2a #9.
A nice impression on a sheet with an anchor watermark. The sheet has been trimmed at left and right, with partial loss to the map image. There are some scattered stains, an area of soiling at top, a couple small wormholes, and minor toning along the centerfold.