Piri Reis map
|Fiction over fact
|How it didn't happen
Only about a third of the original map still exists. It shows relatively accurately parts of the coasts of Europe, north Africa, Brazil, the Azores, the Canary Islands and Japan. North and South America are not accurately depicted, with some substantial errors. Significantly, an error in the depiction of South America has been interpreted by some to be a depiction of the coast of Antarctica, without the current icecap.
Thus, various cranks have seized on this purported "fact" to prop up their pet ideas:
- For Charles Hapgood, that is evidence of an ancient global sea-faring civilization
- For Erich von Däniken, that is evidence of knowledge obtained from ancient astronauts
- For Gavin Menzies, that is evidence of far-reaching Chinese voyages
- Etc, etc.
The more likely explanation is that this is meant to represent Terra Australis, a hypothetical continent in the southern hemisphere invented in the 15th century (before Europeans had fully mapped out the Southern hemisphere), based on nothing more than the assumption that the Southern hemisphere would have just as much land as the Northern one.