[RARE OTTOMAN MAP OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR] Rusya ve Japonya Muharebesine... [i.e., The pocket-map on the Russo-Japanese War: A map used to distinguish the regions occupied by the Russian and Japanese armies during wartime by their colours]

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FIKRI, OSMAN (Mapmaker?).

Matbaa-yi Sanayii, A. Karacaoglu, Istanbul, AH 1320 = [1904].

COMPLETE TITLE: [RARE OTTOMAN MAP OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR] Rusya ve Japonya Muharebesine mahsûs ceb harîtasi: Darülharekât’da bilcümle mevâki’i Rus ve Japon ordularinin elyevm isgâl eyledikleri noktalari bayraklarla arama ider ceb harîtasidir [i.e., The pocket-map on the Russo-Japanese War: A map used to distinguish the regions occupied by the Russian and Japanese armies during wartime by their colours].

Original thin greenish wrappers. Open size: 20 x 15 cm. In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). Light wear on centrefold, slightly faded on the map and wrappers, a weak tip of the lower right corner, else a very good example of a rare map.

A rare, chromolithographed folded map of the Theatre of War in China and Korea and contiguous parts of Russia (Vladivostok) on the northeast, issued as a leaflet in its olive-green special wrappers with calligraphic title and printing details in decorative borders on front wrapper, sold for “20 para” [i.e., 20 Ottoman Lira]. The map was published by A. Karacaoglu Printing House in Galata, Constantinople; located in the Sublime Port area, near the building of the Ottoman Bank, which was especially famous for printing coloured lithograph maps for the early 20th century Ottoman audiences. It was issued in the early days of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), which included the Japanese invasion of China and Korea, and the resulting conflict with Russia.

We can’t trace any biographical information on Turkish mapmaker Osman Fikri, whose name is indicated in the lower right corner of the map.

This rare map is centred on Manchuria covering North Korea and extends northeast to Vladivostok and south to Shandong China and the Yellow Sea extends to the Korean Sea, as well as the eastern part of Mongolia on west, and the Sea of Japan on the east. On the map, it’s identified by different colours the regions owned by the different stakeholders in the war. Russia is purple, Korea is green, Mongolia is dark green, China is yellow, and Manchuria is pink. The map also shows completed and pending chausses and roads as well as Russian and Japanese regions.

The Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) was fought between the Empire of Japan and the Russian Empire between 1904 and 1905 over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and the Korean Empire. The major theatres of military operations were in the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria, and the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.

Russia sought a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean both for its navy and for maritime trade. Vladivostok remained ice-free and operational only during the summer; Port Arthur, a naval base in Liaodong Province leased to Russia by the Qing dynasty of China from 1897, was operational year-round.

On the outbreak of war, on the night of February 8-9, 1904, without a declaration of war, the main Japanese fleet, under the command of Adm. Tōgō Heihachirō, took the Russian squadron at Port Arthur by surprise, inflicting serious losses and imposing a blockade on the harbour. Without waiting to gain command of the sea, the Japanese had begun in March transporting their First Army (under the command of Gen. Tamemoto Kuroki) across the sea to Korea, landing it at Inchon, not far from Seoul, and at Nampo, in the north. The spring thaw had made the roads virtually impossible, and it took many days before the Japanese army was in position before the town of Uiju (now Sinuiju) on the Yalu River. On May 1 the Japanese attacked and, after bitter fighting, defeated the Russians. Japanese losses were about 1,100 men out of a force of 40,000, while Russian losses were 2,500 out of a force of 7,000 troops engaged in this action. It was a victory of tremendous significance, for, although the outnumbered Russians made an orderly withdrawal, it was Japan’s first victorious engagement against a Western country.

Russia suffered numerous defeats to Japan, but Czar Nicholas II was convinced that Russia would win and chose to remain engaged in the war; at first, to await the outcomes of certain naval battles, and later to preserve the dignity of Russia by averting a "humiliating peace". The war concluded with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt.

“The declaration of war between Japan and Russia on February 10, 1904, generated waves of enthusiasm in Turkey as a traditional archrival of Russia, but the eventual impact of the war on the empire proved disastrous. Naturally, news about Russian defeats in Manchuria was a cause for celebration, but the Ottoman government followed a carefully gauged policy of neutrality in this conflagration in order not to antagonize the Tsarist government of the Romanov Empire, a contemporary autocratic regime like that of Abdulhamid II, the Turkish Sultan. An old-world empire that had once been the hegemonic power across the Balkans and extending to the Arabian Peninsula, the Ottomans had lost control of the Black Sea region to the Russians in the eighteenth century. In previous decades the Ottoman government had succumbed to disastrous defeat in the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877-1878 that had ended Ottoman rule in the Caucasus and furthered the erosion of Ottoman power in the Balkans. In the following years, the empire continued to disintegrate. In 1881 the British occupied Egypt, in 1885 Eastern Rumelia was united with Bulgaria, and in 1898 Crete was placed under international control after fighting arose between the Ottoman authorities and Greek rebels.”

This map is extremely rare in commerce and institutional holdings. We can’t trace any copies in KVK and the WorldCat.

Sources: Savaslarda Haritacilar, Wikipedia, Britannica, Brill online.