Artifact Spotlight: The First Printed Map of New England, 1565

---Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer
---John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar

The museum recently acquired an original woodcut print of the first map of New England and thus the first map depicting Narragansett Bay.  The map is a detail of the northern section of Giacomo Gastaldi's map of the east coast of North America (first published in Venice in 1548). The museum's map titled, NVOVA FRANCIA (New France), was published in Giovanni Batista Ramusio's Terzo Volvme delle Navigationi et Viaggi (Venice, 1565). Gastaldi based NVOVA FRANCIA and the earlier map  on the voyages of  Giovanni da Verrazzano and Jacques Cartier. The river systems are based on Verrazzano's assumptions of the Hudson River as well as Cartier’s voyage on the St. Lawrence River. In 1524, Verrazzano anchored in Newport Harbor and explored Narragansett Bay (depicted as Port du Refuge) for two weeks during his search for a Northwest Passage to China.   Flora is believed to be the southern shore of Long Island.

The Gastaldi Map of New France (New England) will be on display as part of a loaned exhibit, Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700. This wonderful exhibition of more than thirty original maps and books is open from 1 July through 30 November 2011 on the museum's second floor.

Purchased by the Naval War College Foundation with a generous donation from the Felicity Foundation.                                                                       L2011.07.01


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