What did the United States look like to the Ottomans in 1803?
On this map, the newly independent U.S. is labeled “The Country of the English People” (“İngliz Cumhurunun Ülkesi”). The Iroquois Confederacy shows up as well, labeled the “Government of the Six Indian Nations.” Other tribes shown on the map include the Algonquin, Chippewa, Western Sioux (Siyu-yu Garbî), Eastern Sioux (Siyu-yu Şarkî), Black Pawnees (Kara Panis), and White Pawnees (Ak Panis). The Louisiana coast is “West Florida”.
This appears to be the first Ottoman map of the United States, but Ottoman maps of North America have a much longer history.
The first were the 16th-century nautical charts of the famous Ottoman cartographer Piri Reis.
He was famous for his maps and charts collected in his Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation), a book which contains detailed information on navigation as well as extremely accurate charts describing the important ports and cities of the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1513 he produced his first world map, based on some 20 older maps and charts which he had collected, including charts personally designed by Christopher Columbus which his uncle Kemal Reis obtained in 1501 after capturing seven Spanish ships off the coast of Valencia in Spain with several of Columbus’ crewmen on board.
Some of the last Ottoman maps of the United States, drawn before the new Turkish Republic switched to Latin script in 1928, show air routes spanning the continental U.S.