Observation and Measurement

What is the Piri Re’is map?

In 1929 a map was found in Constantinople that caused great excitement. Painted on parchment and dated in the Muslim year 919 (1541 according to the Christian calendar), it was signed by an admiral of the Turkish navy known as Piri Re’is. This map appears to be one of the earliest maps of America, and it shows South America and Africa in their correct relative longitudes. The mapmaker also indicated that he had used a map drawn by Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) for the western part. It was an exciting statement because for several centuries geographers had been trying to find a “lost map of Columbus” supposedly drawn by him in the West Indies.


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