This African map is a rare piece of artifact that should impress not only the geographers and cartographers amongst us. My feeling is that on one hand it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kâtip Çelebi, (1609, Istanbul – 1657 Istanbul) the Ottoman scholar who is credited with drawing this map could have achieved such accuracy as far back in the 1600s in his representation of Africa. After all these are men who were known for navigating their way around half the world by using the stars as a guide in an era where the idea of doing so using satelites would have bee seen as unthinkable.
A few years ago the “The Katip Celebi Ottoman Map and Cultural Exhibition,” had an exhibition in the USA. However, this map of Africa seems new with very little review of it. Ottoman navigational charts and maps do not come cheap. Christie’s auctioned one that displayed the mediterranean coastline, also drawn in the 1600s for a whopping £1,071,650.
For those who might want to know a bit more about the Ottomans, here is an excerpt of an article that details their contributions to science and technology as well as astronomy and geography:
As in the field of astronomy, the Ottomans continued the classical tradition in the field of geography. The Ottomans needed geographical knowledge in order to determine the borders of their continuously expanding territory and to establish control over military and commercial activities. They made use of both the geographical works of previous Muslim geographers and works of European origin. By adding their own observations, Ottoman geographers also produced original material.[lix] The Samarkand school of geography and astronomy provided the primary sources for the Ottoman’s knowledge of geography, map-making and related fields. From the 16th century onwards, Pīrī Reis, Matrakci Nasuh, Saydī Ali Celebi and other scholars produced noteworthy geographical works. Continue here.
map source: CSUSB