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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 08, 1933, Image 73

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1933-10-08/ed-1/seq-73/

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At Last
■k World Can See
Columbus' Own
Map Looked
Hidden for Centuries in the Old Seraglio
of Imperial Turkey, a Copy of the Great
Explorer's Chart Has Finally Come to Light.
The lands beyond
the sea. as Colum
bus saw tlumx, are
revealed on this ancient Turkish
nap, whit h has been pronounced a
Street copy of one of Columbus’
Own maps. At the upper right is Spain, with the
African share line below it, while the Caribbean
Islands Columbus discovered are shown at the
upper left. Beyond is Cuba, which he mistook for
the mainland.
BURIED for centuries among the treas
ures of the Sultans In the Seraglio, at
Constantinople, an old map, bearing im
portant and most unexpected news of
Christopher Columbus, has at last been
recognized and studied.
It fe a map of the Atlantic Ocean, beautifully
Colored and ornamented with pictures, as be
fitted a map made for a Sultan.
Once the map had shown the entire world.
But the half dealing with Europe and Asia
bad been torn off. Doubtless a Turkish ruler
found enough to concern him in the map of
his own exciting half of the world. Let the
f»i«uini Spaniards and Portuguese trouble them
getras with savage Islands!
So the New World half of the map came to
net in some out-of-the-way corner, with other
marine charts in the palace. ’latere it lay until
moently. when scholars got to work checking
the Seraglio treasures of art and Utera
a Turkish palace you would scarcely ex
pect to find new light on Columbus, now, would
{uaf Neitncr did Dr. Paul Kahle, German
WHEN Dr. Kahle was shown this old map
of the Atlantic, drawn in 1513, his ej'e
Ml on the name Colon-bo, and he eays frankly
that he was startled. Here was something to
be studied most closely, something perhaps of
great historic importance. Hie must read every
port of the Arabic remarks, Jotted neatly by
the old map maker in odd corners of land and
Dr. Kahle did study the Turkish map, find
ing to bis delight that it has all the earmarks
of a direct copy from one of Columbus’ own
missing maps.
Placing the results of his Investigation before
American geographers, in the October Issue of
the Geographical Review, official organ of the
American Geographical Society, Dr. Kahle says
thnt for the first time geographers have a clue
to the appearance of the map which served to
pride Columbus on his first discovery voyage.
•We are in a position even to reconstruct
. »•! . ff. * . -ils
Columbus' map to a certain ex*
tent," concludes the German geog
Now. ir you recall that Colum
huA' own mans are all lost. It is
clear why the recovery of a direct copy is an
exciting event.
On this Turkish map you can see how Colum
bus himself visualized the lands he bad added
to the dominions of his patron, Queen Isabella
of Spain. Seeing that sprinkling of Islands
and Cuba depicted as a land of unknown ex
tent, you can realize more vividly than ever
how faintly the vast continent of America
dawned upon those other-side-of-the-world ex
Interesting as the map is to look at as a
very early document In American histroy, its
greatest value lies in its details of outline and
the naming of places.
Doubtless many a scholarly argument that
had been enjoyed for years will be drawn to
an end by evidence on this map, which seems
likely to be acknowledged as a copy of Colum
bus' own. The discovery voyages of the world's
most famous navigator have lent themselves to
argument on many points.
r\ID Columbus know he had found a conti
^ nent, or did he not? Where was this Island
that he mentioned in his letters and journals?
Where was that cape or bay? Oh, for one of
the ancient maps used by the discoverer, him
Now that the next best thing, a copy, bas
■been found, the story of how it came to be
drawn and preserved is almost as remarkable
as the map itself. The events are like a new
chapter from the “Arabian Nights," with the
leading characters a Turkish seaman, wno
wrote learnedly about the Mediterranean, the
Sultan Selim the First, whom the Turkish
author yearned to please; a Spanish slave, and
the absent but central character of the whole
affair, “a Genoese Infidel, Colpn-bo.”
The Turkish seaman and author, on Pin
Re’is, desired to make a gift to the Sultan In
the form of a map of the world, most authori
tative and new. From 20 sources he gathered
his data.
It happened that Re'is’ uncle, the great naval
hero, Oazi Kemal. had a Spanish slave, taken
when he captured seven Spanish sailing ves
t „ :>v> *1 ,• v CjJG it«l£*.■'i!‘.
■el* near Valencia in 1501. The Spanish slave
told strange stories of hi* wanderings across
the sea to new lands.
"Three times have I traveled with Colon-bo
to this territory,’' said the slave.
There was a map, too, by this man Colon-bo.
The map may have belonged to the Spaniard.
It inay have been picked up with the booty
on the Spanish ships. Where the map came
from. Piri Re'is does not bother to tell. But
it served to check the slave’s stories, and Re'is
believed in it and took it as his guide in show*
ing the new discoveries beyond the Western
Christopher Columbus consulting his
maps on one of his great voyages of dis
covery ... from an old painting.
!•?' 'if :><f) ifimtti: 'SHr . *: V
All these things seemed Important enough
to the Turkish map maker to be explained
on his map for the Sultan. Hence the long
Arabic inscriptions which Dr. Kahle has now
A Turkish version of Columbus is revealed
in the longest of these writings on the map.
We scarcely recognize the date 1492 in its
Arabic guise. King Ferdinand is interestingly
dubbed the Bey of Spain. The role of Queen
Isabella is left out of the drama entirely. And
Columbus is characterized as a Genoese infidel.
But the main facts are there, convincingly
enough, in their quaint dress.
i 'THESE coasts are called AntUia shores,'*
^ began Piri Re’is. "They were discovered
in the year 896 of the Arabic era. In the fol
lowing manner it is reported: A Genoese
infidel called Colon-bo was the first to find
these territories.
"It is said that into the hand of this Colon
bo came a book which states that the Western
Sea has an end, that on the side of the sunset
there are coasts and islands^nd many different
kinds of mines, and also a mountain of pre
cious stones. In this book he finds it, he
reads it right through, and explains these
things to the eminent men of Genoa in de
tail, and says: 'Give me two ships, I will go
forth and seek these regions.’
"They say, 'Oh you simpleton, in the West
is to be found the end and extremity of the
world and its boundary; it is full of vapor
of darkness’—so they say.
"The said Colon-bo sees that from the Geno
ese there is no help, makes inquiries, and goes
to the Bey of Spain, to whom be submits the
story in detail. They also give him the same
answer as the Genoese. But in the end Colon
bo becomes very insistent to them.
"Finally the Bey of Spain gives two ships,
sees to their good equipment, and says: 'Oh
Colon-bo, if the matter is as you say, then X
will make you Capudan over this territory.’
“With these words he sent this Colon-bo to
the West Sea.’’
Hie inscription on the map gives a long ac
count of the voyage and the strange sights
reported by the slave. And then, a last sen
tence. the most important of all:
“These shores and islands to be found on this
map, so far as they are present, have been
copied from the map of Colon-bo.’*
AMONG the disputed points which the
Turkish map makes clearer is the question
whether Columbus recognized existence of a
continent across the Ocean Sea. Even on hie
third voyage when he cruised argpnd Trinidad
and into the Gulf of Paria, South America, he
set down only islands there on his map. At
least, so the Turkish copy represents them.
“Later,” explains Dr. Kahle, “when the ad
miral took into consideration the fresh waters
and large rivers he found flowing into the Gulf
of Paria, it seems to have occurred to him that
the land could not be large enough to contain
such rivers unless it were a continent.”
But while on the spot Columbus had no sus
picion of a continent lying before his eyes. And
before he changed his map to show his altered
views, the map had passed out of Columbus'
hands and was off on its Turkish adventures.

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