Old Nautical Maps of the Black Sea Region with Armenia

Old Nautical Maps of the Black Sea Region with ArmeniaAlthough the maps presented below were drawn in the 16th century, they all feature Armenia, which hasn’t yet existed as an autonomous state. Before the 16th century, the last independent Armenian country was the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which fell in 1375.

Taking this into account, the fact that the cartographers depicted Armenia as “Armenia” or “Armenia Minor” on their maps is quite interesting and surprising at the same time.

Why not “Ottoman Empire”, which would be the truth from a geographical standpoint? Was the name of Armenia still important in the international circles?

Well, considering that the Armenians have been rather active and powerful even without a sovereign state, it is quite possible that their influence spread far beyond the borders of their historical homeland.

Regardless of the background of such decision, we will probably never find it out. The only thing we know is that for some reason, European cartographers considered Armenia so significant that they even depicted it on their maps, despite the state not being independent and not existing itself!

• 1559 map by Diogo Homem.
• Map by Francesco Ghisolfi (1533-1560).
• A map of near east drawn by nautical cartographer Fernão Vaz Dourado in 1570. It was a part of a nautical atlas and is now kept in the Huntington Library, San Marino, the United States.


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