The Piri Reis Map is Completed

The Piri Reis map is a famous pre-modern world map compiled in 1513 from military intelligence by the Ottoman-Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis.

The half of the map which survives shows the western coasts of Europe and North Africa and the coast of Brazil with reasonable accuracy. Various Atlantic islands including the Azores and Canary Islands are depicted, as is the mythical island of Antillia and possibly Japan. The map has been used to claim an ancient knowledge of an ice-free Antarctica, transmitted either from extra-terrestrials or an Ice Age civilization. These claims are generally considered to be pseudo-scholarship, and scholarly opinion is that the region sometimes thought to be Antarctica is more likely to be Patagonia or the Terra Australis Incognita (Unknown Southern Land) widely believed to exist before the Southern Hemisphere was fully explored. The undisputed historical importance of the map lies in its demonstration of the extent of Portuguese exploration of the New World by approximately 1510, and in its claim to have used Columbus's maps, otherwise lost, as a source.

The map was discovered in 1929 while Topkapı Palace was being converted into a museum. It drew immediate attention as it was one of the earliest maps of America, and the only 16th century map that showed South America in its proper longitudinal position in relation to Africa. Furthermore, Piri's claim that he had based some portions of the map on a map drawn by Columbus also drew special attention, as geographers had spent several centuries unsuccessfully searching for a "lost map of Columbus" that was supposedly drawn while he was in the West Indies. After reading about the map's discovery in the The Illustrated London News, United States Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson contacted the United States Ambassador to Turkey Charles H. Sherrill and requested that an investigation be launched to find the Columbus source map, which he believed may have been in Turkey. In turn, the Turkish government complied with Stimson's request, but they were unsuccessful in locating any of the source maps.