Piri Reis was a famous Turkish admiral in the sixteenth century who had a passionate interest in his collection of old maps. When the admiral's flagship tied up in some new port, Piri Reis and his aides scoured the bazaars for ancient charts and maps. During a now-forgotten sea battle, the admiral captured several enemy sailors. One of the captives boasted of sailing with
Reis, ever on the lookout for new information and maps, questioned the man, who turned out to be one of
The admiral's eyes scanned the yellowed charts. The tracings on the parchment were precise. Using his collection of antique charts, Admiral Piri Reis compiled a world map in 1513. In 1929, a group of historians, poking around in the harem section of the
Arlington T. Mallerey, an authority on ancient maps, eventually came into possession of these documents. He was puzzled to find that the geographical data on the map was not in the correct position. Assisted by the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Bureau, Mallerey made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe. The map was totally accurate.
Later, studies by Professor Charles H. Hapgood and Richard W. Strachan revealed that the originals of the Piri Reis charts may have been aerial pictures snapped at a great height. The rivers, mountain ranges, islands, desserts, and plateaus, were drawn with unusual accuracy. As an example,
"Now this was extraordinary. In the first place, nobody is supposed to have discovered
It seems incredible that ancient cartographers had maps that were more accurate than the best charts produced today. Yet, Captain Mallerey stated that "it was evident that there was very little ice then, at either pole. But, secondly, they had a record, for example, of every mountain range in Northern Canada and