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Piri Reis

Piri Reis is one of the most famous sailors and cartographers of the Ottoman Empire. Piri Reis, whose real name is Ahmet Muhyiddin Piri Bey, was born in Gallipoli between 1465-1470. His father is Karamanlı Hacı Mehmed and his uncle is the sailor Kemal Reis. Piri Reis started sailing with his uncle and became a pirate with him in the Mediterranean. After the fall of Granada, the last stronghold of Muslims in Andalusia, in 1486, he carried Muslims from Spain to North Africa with the support of the Ottoman Empire. In 1494, II. During Beyazid's preparations for an expedition against Venice, he joined the Ottoman navy with his uncle and became a ship commander. Between 1495 and 1510, he participated in many naval battles such as Lepanto, Moton, Koron, Navarin, Lesbos, and Rhodes and achieved success. Meanwhile, he took notes of the places he saw and the events he experienced and later created the draft of his maritime book, which he called Kitab-ı Bahriye. Piri Reis' most famous work is the World Map dated 1513. This map shows the Atlantic Ocean, the Iberian Peninsula, western Africa and the eastern coast of America.


This is an image created for this site.

While drawing the map, he benefited from the maps available to the Portuguese, Christopher Columbus' notes, and his own observations. The map contains cultural and historical information as well as geographical information. Piri Reis participated in the Rhodes expedition of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1521 and played an important role in the conquest of Rhodes. He was appointed Captain of Egypt in 1524 and continued his cartography studies in Egypt. He drew a second World Map in 1528 and presented this map to Suleiman the Magnificent. This map also covers the Indian Ocean and provides more detailed information. Piri Reis went on an expedition to Oman and Basra in 1552 and besieged the Hormuz Castle. He lifted the siege and returned to Basra in return for the tribute he received from the Portuguese. However, he incurred the wrath of the sultan because he left the navy in Basra, refused to give him the share he wanted from the spoils, and had a disagreement with Mehmet Pasha, the Governor of Egypt. He was executed in Egypt in 1554. Piri Reis went down in history as the pioneer of Ottoman maritime and cartography. His works still maintain their value today and are considered a part of the world cultural heritage.

Written by: Adil Sevim

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