World Mysteries – The Piri Reis Map

World Mysteries – The Piri Reis Map


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 Columbus on his three voyages to the new world.



Reis, ever on the lookout for new information and maps, questioned the man, who turned out to be one of Columbus’s pilots. Reis asked if Columbus was mad, or if he knew that there was land across the ocean. The pilot said he knew, that he had maps, and that the pilot still had the maps.

The admiral’s scanned the yellowed charts and found the tracings to be precise. Using his collection of antique charts, Admiral Piri Reis compiled a world map in 1513. In 1929, a group of historians found the Piri Reis map in a pile of rubble in the harem section of the Palace of Topkapi in Constantinople. These scholars were astonished to discover that the map showed the coastal outlines of South and North America. It also included precise data on the southern polar continent, Antarctica.

Piri Reis could not have acquired his information on this region from contemporary explorers because Antarctica remained undiscovered until 1818 CE, more than 300 years after he drew the map. The ice-free coast of Queen Maud Land shown in the map is a mystery because the geological evidence confirms that the very latest date that it could have been surveyed and charted in an ice-free condition is 4000 BCE. It is not possible to pinpoint the earliest date that such a task could have been accomplished, but it seems that the Queen Maud Land littoral may have remained in a stable, unglaciated condition for at least 9,000 years before the spreading ice-cap swallowed it entirely. There is no civilization known to history that had the capacity or need to survey that coastline in the relevant period, i.e. between 13,000 BCE and 4000 BCE.

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 completely 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, Greenland was represented as being two separate islands. This was confirmed just recently by a French polar expedition; their seismic soundings beneath the surface indicated ice covers the space between the two islands.

In Antarctica, an exploratory profile was made by seismic soundings. It revealed mountains and valleys beneath the ice cap that matched the markings on the Piri Reis map. In the January, 1966, issue of Fate magazine, Professor Charles H. Hapgood explained the sensational discovery.

“Now this was extraordinary. In the first place, nobody is supposed to have discovered Antarctica until 1818, three hundred years after Piri Reis, and it is regarded as unthinkable that the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians or Phoenicians could have sailed that far. In the second place, the ice cap in Antarctica is supposed to be millions of years old, and therefore to have been in existence long before man evolved on earth. Mallerey’s suggestion (that someone had mapped the south polar continent before the ice cap originated) appeared outrageous and scientists in general refused to concern themselves with it.”

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 Alaska, including some ranges that the Army Map Service did not have. The U.S. Army has since found them


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