Few Renaissance Venetians saw the New World with their own eyes. As the print capital of early modern Europe, however, Venice developed a unique relationship to the Americas. Venetian editors, mapmakers, translators, writers, and cosmographers represented the New World at times as a place that the city's mariners had discovered before the Spanish, a world linked to Marco Polo's China, or another version of Venice, especially in the case of Tenochtitlan. Elizabeth Horodowich explores these various and distinctive modes of imagining the New World, including Venetian rhetorics of 'firstness', similitude, othering, comparison, and simultaneity generated through forms of textual and visual pastiche that linked the wider world to the Venetian lagoon. These wide-ranging stances allowed Venetians to argue for their different but equivalent participation in the Age of Encounters. Whereas historians have traditionally focused on the Spanish conquest and colonization of the New World, and the Dutch and English mapping of it, they have ignored the wide circulation of Venetian Americana. Horodowich demonstrates how with their printed texts and maps, Venetian newsmongers embraced a fertile tension between the distant and the close. In doing so, they played a crucial yet heretofore unrecognized role in the invention of America.
Monique O’Connell Source: European History Quarterly