Mapping The Ottoman Empire at the End of the 17th Century
The map offers a fine overview of the Turkish Empire at the close of the 17th century. The map is centered on Asia Minor, but extends west to Spain and the Kingdom of Algiers and east to the Caspian Sea and the Arabian Peninsula.
An elaborate cartouche and coat of arms add artistic elements to the map.
During the period from 1600 to 1750, also known as the Tulip Era, the Ottoman Empire underwent significant transformations. This period saw military, administrative, and societal changes. The empire reached its peak territorial extent around 1683, shortly before the creation of this map. It included parts of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.
During this period, the empire faced numerous challenges. It underwent the disastrous Siege of Vienna in 1683, which marked the beginning of the empire's gradual decline in military and political power. The late 17th and early 18th centuries were marked by territorial losses in wars with neighboring powers, notably the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.
However, by the mid-18th century, the Ottoman Empire had begun to lose more of its territories and was falling behind the European powers in terms of administrative and military reforms. This map captures the empire at an interesting time in its history, offering a geographical perspective of its vast extent just before its slow decline.
Alexis-Hubert Jaillot (ca. 1632-1712) was one of the most important French cartographers of the seventeenth century. Jaillot traveled to Paris with his brother, Simon, in 1657, hoping to take advantage of Louis XIV's call to the artists and scientists of France to settle and work in Paris. Originally a sculptor, he married the daughter of Nicholas Berey, Jeanne Berey, in 1664, and went into partnership with Nicholas Sanson's sons. Beginning in 1669, he re-engraved and often enlarged many of Sanson's maps, filling in the gap left by the destruction of the Blaeu's printing establishment in 1672.