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Cedid Atlas

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Cedid Atlas (or Atlas-ı Cedid) is the first published atlas in the Muslim world, printed and published in 1803 in Istanbul, then the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The full title name of the atlas reads as Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (meaning, literally, "A Translation of a New Atlas") and in most libraries outside Turkey, it is recorded and referenced accordingly.


Although manuscripts and hand-drawn maps were widely available throughout the Muslim world, due mainly to religious reasons, the printing of books started only in 1729 by Ibrahim Muteferrika and the Cedid Atlas could only be published in 1803 by Müderris Abdurrahman Efendi in a style based on European geographical knowledge as well as European map-making methods of the day.

The Cedid Atlas includes a monochrome celestial chart and 24 hand-coloured copper engraved maps of various parts of the world; the celestial chart and maps measure at least (53 cm by 72 cm) and all the maps are actually adaptations of William Faden's General Atlas. The maps are preceded by a (1+79) page-long treatise of geography, "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" by Mahmud Raif Efendi and a title page. The "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" of Mahmud Raif Efendi was printed one year later, in 1804, and bound together with the atlas.

From a point of view of art, the atlas is notable for the color of the maps as well as the beauty of the script on the maps.

The Cedid Atlas was published in parallel with the developments of the Ottoman Empire's Nizam-ı Cedid, the "New-Order" or the "New System" ("Cedid" means "new" and "Nizam" means "system", "regime", or "order") and its title-name reflects this clearly. The atlas was new in terms of cartographical knowledge and well suited to the new system which tried to introduce new institutions into the Ottoman Empire while trying to replace existing ones with contemporary counterparts from the West. Introduced by the ruling padishah (the sultan) of the Ottoman Empire, Selim III, the "New-Order" included a series of reforms which mainly modernized and changed the structure of the then existing Ottoman army and changed the administrative structure of the Empire. It was an effort to catch up with technical, military, economic, and administrative achievements of the West against which the Ottoman Empire was losing grounds since the 17th century. New military and engineering schools were established and governmental units related with the foreign relations and affairs were re-organized to align with the new system. For these schools, governmental units, and the wholly re-organized army reformed according to the European practice, a new understanding and applications of geography of the standards of the West were necessary and the Cedid Atlas was translated and printed for this purpose.

Only 50 copies of this atlas (measuring 36 cm x 53 cm) were printed at the press. A copy was presented to Selim III; several copies were also presented to the high-ranking officials of the Empire, some were reserved for the library of Muhendishane (military engineering school of the time), and the remaining were reserved for sale. However, during the "Alemdar Vakası", an uprising of the janissaries in Istanbul during November 15–18, 1808, a fire at the warehouse of the press destroyed an unknown (unaccounted) number of the copies reserved for sale. Based on several estimates and accounting for the single maps (torn-out from bound volumes of the atlas) sold or being sold worldwide, it is believed that a maximum of 20 complete examples could be present in libraries or in private collections whereas some sources suggest that there exist only 10 complete and intact copies in the world. As such, it's one of the rarest printed atlases of historical value.

Cedid atlas

Other names

A few sources outside Turkey and the Muslim world also refer to this atlas as the New Great Atlas. In Turkey, since the printing press of the book was located in the historical Üsküdar (Scutari) region (now a municipality) of Istanbul, the atlas sometimes is referred to as the Üsküdar Atlası.

Existing copies

These are the only 12 complete copies known to exist in the world:

  1. Turkey - Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapı Palace) - 1 copy - Complete
  2. Turkey - Library of the Istanbul Technical University (İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, formerly known as ""Engineering School (Mühendislik Mektebi")) - 2 copies - Complete (presence of copies are not confirmed)
  3. Turkey - Library of the Boğaziçi University (Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, formerly known as Robert College) - 3 copies - Complete (presence of only 1 copy is confirmed)
  4. Turkey - Municipality of Üsküdar(Üsküdar Belediyesi) - 1 copy - Complete
  5. U.S.A. - Library of Congress - 1 copy - Complete
  6. U.S.A. - Princeton University Library - 1 copy - Complete
  7. Netherlands - Leiden University Library - 1 copy - Complete
  8. Saudi Arabia - Madinah based Antiquarian bookseller; Eqtna for Rare Books. The copy was displayed for sale at the Sharjah Book Fair 2015. - 1 copy - Complete
  9. Swann Auction Galleries, New York - 1 complete copy sold on 26 May 2016.

(Contrary to sources, on-line library search at the library of Boğaziçi University shows only 1 copy according to the records, and an on-line search at the library of the Istanbul Technical University shows no copies according to records. WorldCat union catalogue search of all the libraries confirms this result. Accordingly, there are only 10 complete and intact copies confirmed to exist in the world.)

These are the incomplete copies known to exist in the world:

  1. U.S.A. - John Carter Brown Library (Brown University) - 1 copy (missing 2 maps)
  2. U.S.A. - Newberry Library - 1 copy (missing 1 map and also 1 available map is from another copy)
  3. Turkey - Yapı Kredi Sermet Çifter Araştırma Kütüphanesi - 1 copy (missing several maps)
  4. Turkey - Bursa İnebey Kütüphanesi - 1 copy (missing several maps)
  5. Norway - Nasjonalbiblioteket (National Library of Norway) - 1 copy (missing 2 maps)
  6. Sweden - Kungliga Biblioteket (Royal Library of Sweden) - 1 copy (missing the title page)
  7. Austria - Antikvariat InLibris, Vienna - 1 copy (Missing the celestial chart).

The following libraries possess very limited portions of the atlas :

  1. Bibliothèque nationale de France owns the initial (1+79) page-long geographical treatise "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" and one map only, title page and the remaining maps of the atlas are missing.
  2. National Library of Australia owns only two maps of the atlas with all the rest missing.

Occasionally, single maps of the Cedid Atlas are presented for sale by on-line book sellers or auctioneers.

Maps in the Cedid Atlas

In addition to the (53 cm x 72 cm) monochrome celestial map, there are 24 coloured maps in the atlas; some of them are larger than (53 cm x 72 cm). In order of appearance, these maps show:

  1. Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere
  2. South Pole and North Pole
  3. The World
  4. Europe (including Iceland)
  5. Anatolia, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Balkan Peninsula, (heel of) Italy, Iraq/Syria/Lebanon/Jordan/Palestine/Cyprus/Crete (in the south)
  6. Adriatic Coast, Italy,Southern France, Iberian Peninsula, Libya/Tunis/Algeria (in the south)
  7. Anatolia (the) Black Sea, Crimea, Southern Ukraine, (north of) Balkan Peninsula to Hungary
  8. Western Anatolia, Aegean Sea, Crete (in the south), Greece
  9. England (and Wales)
  10. Scotland and Scottish Islands
  11. The Low Countries : Hanau, Luxembourg, Brabant, Flanders, Northern France
  12. France (at the time of the monarchy)
  13. The English Channel and the Channel Islands, Western France Coast
  14. France (at the time of the republic)
  15. Germany (from Brandenburg to Braunschweig)
  16. Poland, Prussia, Lithuania (to the north)
  17. Continent of Asia
  18. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Western Iran, Iraq/Syria/Lebanon/Jordan/Palestine/Cyprus (in the south), Anatolia
  19. Continent of Africa
  20. River Nile in Egypt in detail (including the Nile Delta)
  21. Continents of America (North, Central, South) and (part of) Pacific Ocean
  22. Eastern North America
  23. Central/South America (Guyana) Coast
  24. The Lesser Antilles (including) Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Tobago

Paper used for the maps in the Cedid Atlas

The watermark of the papers on which the maps were printed were examined. While some Princeton University professors believe the papers are Russian-made, John Delaney, the historical maps curator for the Princeton University Library, believes the paper is possibly from Venice, Italy.

Articles and papers

  • University of Chicago - European Cartographers and the Ottoman World (1500-1750)
  • Turkish Cultural Foundation - Turkish Graphic Arts
  • Jerusalem Quarterly - Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine : Ethnography and Cartography
  • İstanbul Üniversitesi Dergisi - Article in Turkish by Cengiz Orhonlu (Turkish)
  • İstanbul Üniversitesi Dergisi - Article in Turkish by Deniz Ekinci (Turkish)
  • Books

  • The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. Kinross, Patrick. Perennial, London, 1977.
  • İmparatorluğun En Uzun Yüzyılı. Ortaylı, İlber. Hil Yayinları, İstanbul, 1983. (Turkish)
  • Military, Administrative, and Scholarly Maps and Plans. Karamustafa, Ahmet T. In "The History of Cartography, Vol. 2, Book 1: Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies, edited by J. B. Harley and David Woodward, pp. 209–28", University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1992.
  • Türk Bilim ve Matbaacılık Tarihinde Mühendishane, Mühendishane Matbaası ve Kütüphanesi (1776-1826). Beydilli, Kemal. Eren Yayıncılık, İstanbul, 1995. (Turkish)
  • Mühendishane ve Üsküdar Matbaalarında Basılan Kitapların Listesi ve Bir Katolog. Beydilli, Kemal. Eren Yayıncılık, İstanbul, 1997. (Turkish)
  • History of the Ottoman Empire, Volume 2. Shaw, S.J. and Shaw, E.Z., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997.
  • Mahmud Raif Efendi ve Nizâm-ı Cedîd'e Dair Eseri. Beydilli, Kemal & Şahin, İlhan. Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları, Ankara, 2001. (Turkish)
  • References

    Cedid Atlas Wikipedia

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