Carletti's World: An Early Modern Global Voyage
The travel account left by the Florentine merchant Francesco Carletti (1573-1636) remains a major understudied source for global historians. Between 1594 and 1602, Carletti circumnavigated the world, traveling and trading in West Africa, the Spanish Americas, the Philippines, Japan, China, briefly stopping in Malacca and Ceylon before arriving in Portuguese India on his way back to Europe. Captured by the Dutch off St. Helena, he found his goods confiscated and litigated until 1605 for their return before traveling through France to reach Tuscany in 1606. Carletti presented his patron Grand Duke Ferdinando I with an account of his voyage (Ragionamenti sopra le cose da lui vedute ne' suoi viaggi), which remained in manuscript until its publication in Florence in 1701.
This project – jointly sponsored by Villa I Tatti with the European University Institute (Giorgio Riello), University of Warwick (Luca Molà), Syracuse University (Brian Brege), and Stanford University (Paula Findlen) – begins with the idea that a new translation and critical edition of Carletti’s My Voyage Around the World is needed. The only English translation, done by Herbert Weinstock in 1964 is out of print and needs improvement. This is a source that can be greatly enriched by placing its contents in dialogue with several decades of scholarship on the history of subjects such as:
- slavery, commerce, food, animals, and other commodities
- language, ethnography, and religion
- travel and travellers
- mapping, cities, and landscapes
- visual and material culture
In 2021 the project will be launched through an online workshop series. These are part of a wider project for a new translation and critical edition of Carletti’s My Voyage Around the World. The new edition will be complemented by the creation of a digital platform for early modern global history and potentially an exhibit. These supplementary outcomes are designed to make this an interactive project that will involve students and researchers. We wish to use this account of a Florentine global traveller, who traversed many states and empires without belonging to any of them, to see and understand the world c. 1600.