Giovanni Battista Ramusio


Giovanni Battista Ramusio

Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557) was an Italian geographer and travel writer.

Born in Treviso, Ramusio was the son of Paolo Ramusio, a magistrate in the city-state of Venice. In 1505 young Giovanni took a position as secretary to Alvise Mocenigo, then serving as the Republic's ambassador to France; he would spend the rest of his career in Venetian service. He was keenly interested in geography, and his position ensured that he would receive news of all the latest discoveries from explorers around Europe as they were sent back to Venice. A learned man, fluent in several languages, he began to compile these documents and translated them into Italian, then the most widely understood of the European languages. Though he himself traveled little, he was able nonetheless in 1550 to publish the first volume of his "Navigationi et Viaggi" ("Navigations and Travels"); a collection of explorers' first-hand accounts of their travels, it was the first work of its kind. The third volume was published in 1556, before the second; the manuscript of this portion was destroyed in a fire before being sent to the printer, and its publication was consequently delayed until 1559, two years after its compiler's death. "Navigationi et Viaggi" was translated into several languages and reprinted a number of times, indicating how popular such books were becoming on the Continent. It paved the way for a slew of other such works, including those of Richard Hakluyt.

Reference

* [http://www.mariner.org/exploration/index.php?type=travelwriter&id=10 Exploration through the ages]


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