A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 8, 2013

Google is celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Piri Reis Map

Google likes to celebrate anniversaries with special logos, and yesterday it chose to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Piri Reis Map, a 16th century Ottoman map attributed to the Ottoman Admiral Piri Reis and one of the very first to show North America. The map itself, published in 1513, was the fgirst Ottoman map to show North America and one of the earlier ones of any nationality; based on a variety of Spanish and Portuguese portolan charts, and other sources, it is quite accurate for its era and has generated a certain amount of fringe theories (such as that Piri must have had extraterrestrial help in mapping Antarctica) which should not detract from the map's genuine contributions. The Ottoman Navy in the 16th century was a powerful force, and its intelligence services appear to have been efficient.

From the map:


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