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Opening Up New Worlds: Sixteenth-Century Travel Literature And Collections Of Voyages

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Chapter Summary

Although the first volume of the De Bry collection appeared nearly one-hundred years after the first discoveries, any discussion of European representations of the overseas world should begin in the late fifteenth century. The cosmographical literature of the sixteenth century is, for various reasons, an interesting reference point for the collections of voyages of a slightly later period. Ramusio?s three-volume folio-sized Delle navigationi et viaggi was acknowledged by contemporaries as a landmark publication. Richard Hakluyt the Younger, the foremost of European geographers in the late sixteenth century, was one of the driving forces behind early English overseas expansion. In order to make his fellow-Englishmen aware of the tradition of expansion from their shores, Hakluyt devised his collection of voyages, the Principall Navigations. Hakluyt, adhering to the developments in travel literature, chose to copy Ramusio?s format of the Navigationi as the best means to impose his philosophy on readers.

Keywords: cosmographical literature; De Bry collection of voyages; Delle navigationi et viaggi; English overseas expansion; European geographers; Giovanni Battista Ramusio; Principall Navigations; Richard Hakluyt; sixteenth century travel literature



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