The Piri Reis Map of 1513 is the first surviving map that shows the Americas (the Vinland map may be older but only shows a part of North America).
The Piri Reis map shows North America, South America, Greenland and Antarctica which had not yet been discovered.
Piri Reis was a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century. His passion was cartography, he was always on the lookout for new maps
and other such documents. In 1513 a map had been commissioned him.
Piri Reis was high rank within the Turkish navy which allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople. He was
considered an expert on Mediterranean lands and coastlines, and he even wrote a famous sailing book called Kitabi Bahriye where he described all the
details of coastlines, harbors, currents, shallows, bays and straits of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. He died in 1554 or 1555 being beheaded for
It is said that in a now-forgotten sea battle he met, among the prisoners, a sailor who claimed to have been sailing along with Columbus in his three
journeys to the new world, and that he was one of his pilots. It turned out that Columbus had a map of the lands he was chasing, and that this map now
was in the possession of that pilot.
The admiral Piri Reis got to put hands and eyes on the map; then in 1513 he compiled a world map based on that map and on the other antique charts
from his collection - many of which had survived from the days of the Great Library of Alexandria.
The map had drawn the attention of scholars in 1929 when it had been discovered in the archives of the Imperial Palace in Constantinople.
The map showed the outline of South America very accurately. This was surprising since Columbus had discovered the New World only 21 years earlier in
Notes made by Piri indicated he had based his map on earlier maps, including one consulted by Columbus before his famous voyage.
This excited the scholars since there had been rumors that there existed a pre-Columbian map of the New World. Piri's claim that he had possessed the
"lost map" intrigued historians.
It wasn't the accuracy of the South American coastline that interested Mallery, though. It was what was shown at the very bottom of the map: a chunk
of land that looked very much like Antarctica.
This was surprising since Antarctica had not been discovered until 1820.
Even more intriguing was a section of the coastline of this southern continent.
Part of it looked very much like the coast of Queen Maud Land which was a section of Antarctica.
The strange thing was that the coast of Queen Maud Land had been covered with a thick sheet of ice for many centuries and its shape was only known now
to modern mapmakers through the use of modern seismographic equipment.
This made Mallory wonder if the Admiral had somehow owned maps that dated back before the ice sheet covered the coast and if the coast had been
somehow surveyed from the air.
Most serious professional geographers, though, rejected Mallery's radical theory without even considering it carefully.
Professor Charles H. Hapgood, of Keene State College at the University of New Hampshire, did take an interest in the map and Mallory's thoughts.
Professor Hapgood was known for his support of unorthodox theories.
With the help of some of his students, Hapgood did a careful examination of Piri's map and several other old maps and published a book on the subject
called Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings.
Found on listverse.com...
[edit on 20/7/2009 by Conspiracyintheuk]