Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia
Interesting Facts & Trivia
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24 - QUESTION: In what city was the cartographer born who created the first surviving map that shows the Americas and the world?
The first surviving map of the West was made by Piri Reis who was a 16th century Ottoman-Turkish admiral and cartographer. One of his famous maps is a pre-modern world map dated 1513, which depicts the Western Hemisphere -- known as "The Map of the Americas" it includes North America, South America, Greenland, Antarctica, as well as the western coast of Africa. Piri Reis has been credited for depicting parts of the western coasts of Europe and North Africa with reasonable accuracy. The map is now preserved in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Born on the Gallipoli Peninsula c.1465, Piri Reis is an important figure of Turkish naval history. In addition to creating maps of the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Dardanelles, in 1521 he also wrote a mariner's guide to the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean ("Book of the Mariner," or "The Naval Handbook").
Although the earliest known map is a matter of some debate, a wall painting, which may depict the ancient Anatolian city of Çatalhöyük (previously known as Catal Huyuk or Çatal Hüyük in modern-day Turkey), has been dated to the late 7th millennium BCE.
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