Giovanni Battista Ramusio

Giovanni Battista Ramusio

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Giovanni Battista Ramusio (born July 20, 1485, Treviso, Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 died July 10, 1557, Padua) was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 geographer
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 and travel writer.

Born in Treviso
Treviso
Treviso is a city and comune in Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Treviso and the municipality has 82,854 inhabitants : some 3,000 live within the Venetian walls or in the historical and monumental center, some 80,000 live in the urban center proper, while the city...

, Italy, Ramusio was the son of Paolo Ramusio, a magistrate
Magistrate
A magistrate is an officer of the state; in modern usage the term usually refers to a judge or prosecutor. This was not always the case; in ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest government officers and possessed both judicial and executive powers. Today, in common law systems, a...

 in the city-state of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

. In 1505 young Giovanni took a position as secretary to Alvise Mocenigo, then serving as the Republic's ambassador to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan 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
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, 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
Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt was an English writer. He is principally remembered for his efforts in promoting and supporting the settlement of North America by the English through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and...

.