1556 [A View of Mexico City.] Untitled map of Mexico City.
By: Giovanni Battista Ramusio
Date: 1556 (Published) Venice
Dimensions: 6.75 x 10.6 inches (17.15 x 26.9 cm)
This rare and important map of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) is from Ramusio’s Navigatione et Viaggi volume 3, and is based on the original rendering of the city done by Cortes himself when he came up on the splendid metropolis. Similar versions of the map based on the original plan are to be found in a number of contemporaneous publications, including those by Bordone, Munster, du Pinet, and Porcacchi, to name a few. The city was founded by the Mexica (Aztecs) in 1325, who called it Tenochtitlan. They were one of the last indigenous people to migrate to this area after the fall of the Toltecs, and they eventually established a city on a small island on the western side of the lake.
Mexica legend describes how their principal god, Huitzilopochtli, identified the position of the city on seeing an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake grasped firmly in its beak. When the Spanish arrived, the population of the city is estimated to have been as high as 300,000 inhabitants, making it much larger than any European city of its day. The Spanish were much astonished at the beauty and sophistication of the city in the lake.
Italian text on the verso describes map and relates observations of the area as related by the Spanish who first came upon the city.
Condition: This splendid map is in A condition.
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