[SOUTH & CENTRAL ASIA] Mir'âtü'l-memâlik. [i.e. The mirror of the countries]

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SEYDI ALI REIS, (Ottoman admiral), (1498-1563), Ikdam Matbaasi, Istanbul, [AH 1313] = 1895.

Original handsome brown quarter leather binding with Ottoman lettered gilt to spine. Five raised bands to spine, separated from each other with lined gilt. Slight stains on the title page. Else a fine copy. Roy. 8vo. (23 x 16 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). 99 p. Hegira: 1313 = Gregorian: 1895.

Extremely rare first printed edition of this one of the earliest travel accounts, of an Ottoman admiral's early expeditions to the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf to counter Portuguese piracy and attacks on Muslim pilgrim ships, which describes the lands he has seen during his voyage from India to Constantinople by Sidi (Seydi) Ali Reis (1498-1563) sent by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent covering the years 1553-1556.

During these naval wars, after two marine battles against the Portuguese fleet and a great storm named The Elephant Typhoon (Tufan-i Fil) by the locals, Reis' remaining six galleys drifted to India. The fleet was unserviceable, resulting in his return home overland with 50 men. Reis then arrived at the royal court of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, where he met the future Mughal emperor Akbar, who was twelve years old at the time. He returned to the Ottoman Land over Muslim states in South Asia; Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Iran. But he delayed his return because of the war between the Ottoman and the Safavid Empires in Iran. Finally, following the treaty of Amasya in 1555, he was able to return home and present his book of this narrative journey to the Sultan in 1557.

This work offers an extensive insight into the Muslim situation in 16th century South and Central Asia and the Middle East, Islamic navigation, and Turkish - Portuguese relations as well as Persian, Afghan, and Indian geography, naval routes, flora, and fauna.

Seydi Ali Reis, formerly also written Sidi Ali Reis and Sidi Ali Ben Hossein, was an Ottoman admiral and navigator. Known also as Katib-i Rumi, Galatali, or Sidi Ali Çelebi, he commanded the left wing of the Ottoman fleet at the naval Battle of Preveza in 1538. He was later promoted to the rank of fleet admiral of the Ottoman fleet in the Indian Ocean, and as such, encountered the Portuguese forces based in the Indian city of Goa on several occasions in 1554. Seydi was able to unite several Muslim countries on the coast of the Arabian Sea (such as the Makran Kingdom, Gujarat Sultanate, and Adal Sultanate) against the Portuguese. He is famous today for his books of travel such as the Mir'ât ül Memâlik [i.e. The Mirror of Countries], and his books of navigation and astronomy, such as the Mir'ât-i Kâinât (Mirror of the Universe) and the Kitâb ül Muhit: El Muhit fî Ilmi'l Eflâk ve'l Buhûr [i.e. Book of the Regional Seas and the Science of Astronomy and Navigation] which contain information on navigation techniques, methods of determining direction, calculating time, using the compass, information on stars, sun and moon calendars, wind and sea currents, as well as portolan information regarding the ports, harbours, coastal settlements and islands in the various regions of the Ottoman Empire. His books are translated into numerous languages including English, French, Italian, German, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Russian, and Bengali, and are considered among the finest literary works dating from the Ottoman period.

"When Sultan Suleiman had taken up his winter residence in Aleppo, I, the author of these pages, was appointed to the Admiralship of the Egyptian fleet and received instructions to fetch back to Egypt the ships (15 galleys), which some time ago had been sent to Basrah on the Persian Gulf. But, 'Man proposes, God disposes.' I was unable to carry out my mission, and as I realized the impossibility of returning by water, I resolved to go back to Turkey by the overland route, accompanied by a few tried and faithful Egyptian soldiers. I traveled through Gujarat, Hind, Sind, Balkh, Zabulistan, Bedakhshan, Khotlan, Turan, and Iran, i.e., through Trans-Soxania, Khorassan, Kharezm, and Deshti-Kiptchak; and as I could not proceed any farther in that direction, I went by Meshed and the two Iraqs, Kazwin and Hamadan, on to Baghdad." (Fordham University online).

This copy is from "Mahmud Refik" Collection with his stamp on the title page.

Özege 13772.; Not in Koray.