La Terra de Hochelaga
The first plan of any settlement in the New World, in this case an indigenous village.
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In 1535, the French explorer Jacques Cartier made his second voyage to the New World, traveling down the St. Lawrence River into modern-day Canada in search of a waterway to Cathay (China). In October of that year, he and his crew were halted by the rapids around the island of Montreal and visited the nearby fortified Iroquois settlement of Hochelaga. A plan of the town, the first such printed representation of any settlement in North America, was based on Cartier’s description and originally published in 1556 as part of Giovanni Ramusio’s Delle Navigationi et Viaggi (an early travel volume).
The fanciful representation presents the explorer at the bottom of the sheet, peacefully greeting the chief, or Agouhanna, of the Iroquois. A diagram of Hochelaga shows approximately forty-five houses encompassed by a well-defended wooden stockade with ramparts. The Aguohanna’s house is labeled, along with cooking fires, public squares, and the primary street. Surrounding the town are cultivated fields, game animals, and thickets of forest. Monte Real, a ‘great mountain’ described by Cartier in his writings, is the first printed appearance of the Canadian city of Montreal (both the city and the island are named after the mountain).
This is the second edition of the map, published in 1565 after the first woodblock was destroyed in a fire. It’s identifiable by the ‘weeping willow’ style tree in the upper right and the opaque smoke near the bottom. A third edition, issued in 1606, is the most common and can be recognized by the moderate worming damage to several areas of the block. The image presents an idyllic overview of the New World to a contemporary European audience – readily arable land, peaceful natives, and abundant game. Furthermore, it captures an early representation of indigenous culture almost unparalleled in its visual detail. An incredible example of early American exploration.
References: Kershaw 17a, Goss Map 7, Schwarz and Ehrenberg Plate 28,
Publication Date: 1565
Author: Giovanni Ramusio
Sheet Width (in): 15.00
Sheet Height (in): 11.20
Condition Description: Light scattered soiling visible throughout the image, most evident in the upper center right and lower left corner. Soft creasing along the vertical fold line, but overall remains in very good condition.
1 in stock