This map is a map of the island of Cuba. It was done by a mapmaker by the name of Ruscelli in the middle of the 16th century – roughly 1565 – and it includes, in addition to Cuba, if you look down below, you will see of the island of Jamaica rendered as well and then in the lower right-hand corner, the very westernmost tip of the island of Hispaniola. This island or this – well it is an island, Cuba is an island, is again a 16th-century mapmaker’s best effort and, uh, one can find if you look closely, at least where the bay is, where Havana is located on the Northern side of the, of the island. Ruscelli was famous for maps of this era and this is an excellent specimen in very good shape for a map that was made more than 400 years ago.
This map is a page, uh, from a compilation of maps by our friend Sebastian Munster, the 16th-century cartographer. In this particular case, it is, a French edition, Des Nouvelles Isles, the new islands, and it represents not a very real portrayal of the Caribbean islands but an impressionistic sense that there were lots of new islands that are now entering into the mind of the European explorer, and, uh, without trying to be accurate, I think Munster just throws a whole bunch of interesting Island-looking places together, together with a couple of ships, and this is the headline for what will be his more careful rendering of, uh, various islands in the Caribbean.
This map is a map of the then-settlement of Santo Domingo on the, uh, island of Hispaniola. And one can see the fairly orderly center of the town, surrounded by various gardens and other human activity. One of the features that I like particularly is this nondescript sea monster, looks a little bit more like a salamander. A giant salamander, as big as any of the ships in the fleet, swimming alongside, heading toward the fleet. This is a good example of the, uh, woodcut technique and a very early 16th-century map of that, uh, that settlement.
This map is a very early 16th-century rendering of the island of Hispaniola. It’s a little misleading because a discussion of Jamaica appears at the bottom that would continue on to the next page where the map of Jamaica would appear. But this, this, this is Hispaniola, and you’ll see an effort to render a town on the island called Isabella. Bordon was operating with very little information here, and so one can’t, uh, really see very much of the actual outline of the island of Hispaniola, which of course now includes, uh, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, here again was an early, early mapmaker doing his best and creating what is at least a very interesting rendering.