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map of Turkey in Ottoman Turkish
Map of Turkey in Cedid atlas tercümesi. 1803. Geography and Map Division.

Atlas of the Ottoman New Order

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This post draws heavily from the research completed by Chris Murphy, Area Specialist retired, Near East Section, and James Flatness, Acquisitions Specialist retired, Geography and Map Division, and the Acquisitions Report in the Philip Lee Phillips Society Newsletter, Volume III, Number 1, Spring 1998.

map of world in Ottoman Turkish
World map in Cedid atlas tercümesi. 1803. Geography and Map Division.

This rare burgundy leather-bound atlas in Ottoman Turkish was published at the turn of the 19th century (1218 AH /1803 or 1804 CE) in Istanbul by the Tab’hane-yi Hümayun (Ottoman Military Engineering School Press). The work, Cedid atlas tercümesi, comprises 25 hand-colored maps and an 80-page geographic treatise, which are artifacts of the Nizam-ı Cedid (New Order). Sultan Selim III (1761–1808) ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1789 to 1807, and during his reign, instituted the New Order by promulgating regulations, which attempted to align the Ottoman system after European administrative, military, technical, and economic models. This atlas and its geographic treatise were intended to provide geographic information for the students and teachers at the newly-established Military Engineering School and for Ottoman officials.

polar view of the world in Ottoman Turkish
Polar view of the world in Cedid atlas tercümesi. 1803. Geography and Map Division.
Map of Turkey in Ottoman Turkish
Turkey in Cedid atlas tercümesi. 1803. Geography and Map Division.

Cedid atlas tercümesi is the first world atlas published in the Muslim World based on European cartographic methods and geographic knowledge. Only fifty copies were printed, including one unique copy for Sultan Selim III and six others for Ottoman state officials.

Our copy is one of only six known complete atlases. Other complete copies are held by the following institutions: Princeton University Library; Leiden University Library, Netherlands; McMaster University Library, Canada*; Topkapi Palace Museum, Turkey; Boğaziçi University Library, Turkey; and the Municipality of Üsküdar, Turkey.

The appended 80-page geographic treatise, Ucaletü’l-coğrafiyye (Handbook of Geography), was completed by Mahmud Raif Efendi (1760–1807), a private secretary to the Ottoman ambassador during his service in London. It was intended as an introduction and explanation to the atlas.

Each map in the atlas, except for the celestial chart, is based on the cartographic work of British cartographer, engraver, and publisher William Faden’s (1749–1836), General Atlas (see our holdings of works by Faden). Yakovaki Efendi translated the English place-names from Faden’s work into Turkish. The names were then re-engraved on copper plates. Engraving under the supervision of Abdulraman Efendi began in 1801, and by 1803 all 50 copies were complete.

Come in-person to the Geography and Map Reading Room, or view online, and compare the contents of this Ottoman masterpiece to its European relative.

*This is an update from the original post.

For background information about the creation and compilation of the atlas, please see:

Kemal Beydilli. Türk bilim ve matbaacılık tarihinde Mühendishâne, Mühendishâne Matbaası ve Kütüphânesi, 1776-1826. Istanbul: Eren Yayıncılık ve Kitapçılık, 1995.

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