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A: İstanbul, Turkey

Müderris Abdurrahman Efendi Prints the First World Atlas Printed by Muslims

4/1803 to 3/1804

From April 1803 to March 1804 Müderris Abdurrahman Efendi the Ottoman Military Engineering School Press in Istanbul issued the the Cedid Atlas Tercumesi( A Translation of New Atlas). This was the first world atlas printed by Muslims. Only 50 copies were issued.

The Cedid Atlas included a monochrome celestial chart and 24 hand-colored copper engraved maps of various parts of the world; the celestial chart and maps measure at least (53 cm by 72 cm). The maps are adaptations of William Faden's General Atlas. They are preceded by an 80-page treatise on geography, "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" by Mahmud Raif Efendi, and a title page. The treatise was printed in 1804, and bound together with the atlas.

"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 EmpireSelim 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 Empirewas 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" (Wikipedia article Cedid Atlas, accessed 7-2019).

Of the 50 copies originally produced it was thought in 2019 that 12 complete copies had survived, along with 7 incomplete copies.


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