This very rare and highly attractive large format map of Africa was printed as one of series of separately issued maps of the continents made for the Kitabhane-yi Sudi, a bookshop located at the Bab-i Ali Caddesi in Istanbul. Published in 1927, it is perhaps the last great map of Africa to have been printed in Ottoman script (which would be abolished by President Atatürk in early 1929, henceforth mandating that Latin letters be used for the Turkish language).
The map shows the state of play in Africa in the post-World War I era, after Britain, France and Belgium took over Germany’s former empire on the continent (Britain gained Namibia and what is today mainland Tanzania; France took over Togo and most of Cameroon; while Belgium gained Rwanda and Burundi). As such, France is shown to have consolidated control over most of the northwestern quadrant of Africa, while Britain finally realized Cecil Rhodes’s dream of possessing an uninterrupted expanse of territory from the ‘the Cape to Cairo’ (when counting Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, which were not colonies, but rather British protectorates). Liberia and Ethiopia remain the only parts of Africa not under some form of European control. Belgium possesses an enlarged empire in the Congo, while Italy controls Libya, Eritrea and much of Somalia. The insets in the lower left corner detail the Nile Delta and Greater Cairo.
The map is beautifully adorned on both sides with flags, including (on the left, top to bottom:) Ethiopia, Zanzibar, France, Fez (Morocco), Belgian Congo, Liberia and Egypt; (on the right, top to bottom:) Spain, England, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and South Africa.
All of the maps from the Kitabhane-yi Sudi series of the continents are today very rare, as due to their large size and separate issue they have a low survival rate.