‘Ethiopian Ocean’: a 16th c. Colonial Term, the Treaties of Alcáçovas (1479), Tordesillas (1494) and Zaragoza (1529), and the Ottoman Stiffness and Incompetence

How can a new geographical term, first used by a late 15th c. Catholic pope, help us evaluate the incompetence, misery and absolute failure of the Ottoman sultans who, after being idiotic enough to invade a small city (Constantinople, 1453) that would only plague them with many troubles, after being pathetic enough not to make the most of an illustrious victory (Chaldiran, 1514), and after being demented enough to make of the sands of Arabia, Egypt and Libya part of their sultanate (1517), thought it possible for them to be the driving force of the Islamic world only to allow Spain and Portugal to rule the waves and prepare the demolition of Islam in just 400 years?


I. Misinterpretation of a 15th c. Unhistorical Term by 21st c. Crooks

II. No ‘Ethiopian Ocean’ (or Sea) in ‘Classical Geographical Works’

III. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Iranians, the Circumnavigation of Africa, and the Geographical Terms Used 

IV. Libya (: ‘Africa’), the Periplus of Hanno, and the Early Use of the Term ‘Atlantic Sea’

V. The Terms ‘Ocean’ and ‘Sea’, and the leading Ancient Egyptian Scholar Ptolemy the Geographer

VI. The Treaties of Alcáçovas (1479), Tordesillas (1494) and Zaragoza (1529), and the Use of the Terms ‘Sea of Ethiopia’ and ‘Sea of India’

VII. The Treaties of Alcáçovas, Tordesillas and Zaragoza, Portuguese-Spanish Colonial Conquests, Ottoman Ignorance and Stiffness, and the Collapse of the Islamic World

I. Misinterpretation of a 15th c. Unhistorical Term by 21st c. Crooks

It sounds strange that the misuse of an Ancient Greek and Latin term by a 15th c. pope relates to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the destruction of the entire Islamic world, but the whole world is nothing more than an enormous field of semiotics whereby all signs exert impact on one another. At this point, it would suffice to state that the term “Ethiopian Ocean’ was first used in a Treaty signed by Portugal and Spain under the auspices of the Catholic pope in 1494; that treaty actually was the death warrant of the Ottoman Sultanate (not yet Caliphate at that time) and of the Islamic world.

I should rather narrate things in the correct order; few days ago, a friend of mine based in the Arabian Peninsula sent me a link to an article published in a South African site under the title “Mapmakers once referred to the southern Atlantic Ocean as the Ethiopian Ocean” (see after the end of the present article: Addendum I). I realized immediately what it all was about, but I visited the web page, only to realize that the nonsensical and confusing article was the mere reproduction of an earlier report, which was initially published in another site; at the bottom of the article, you can read the following: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organization. View the original piece on their website”. I subsequently visited that site, which is an outfit of the French secret services {I am sorry, I meant ‘of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Foundation’}. Details about the Africa Check non-profit fact checking organization (including their finances and controversial sponsors) you can find here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa_Check

If you need to spare your time, yes! You guessed correctly! Among the sponsors of that self-styled organization, you can find the disreputable and fraudulent financier George Soros’ Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA; get the basics here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Society_Foundation_for_South_Africa) and the notorious Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (now that they will get divorced, the name will have to change). Next time you want to learn more about African History, set up your own ‘non-partisan fact-checking kiosk’ and get some money from the lottery (it will not be as dirty as that coming from the aforementioned crooks)! But I am digressing.

The Africa Check report (see after the end of the present article: Addendum II) was titled “The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century”, which is a monstrous lie. I am sure that the present article will help many people understand that this world’s fraudulent ‘fact-checking’ institutes and other similar associations are set up by criminals intending to tyrannically impose their forgery systematization and their pseudo-historical dogma which is situated at the antipodes of the real History of the Mankind, but this is not the intention with which I write now.

Both publications refer to an earlier post on Instagram (a site belonging to the notorious Facebook) in which part of a historical map is featured, whereas the caption reads: “Today’s southern half of the Atlantic Ocean in classical geographical works was known as Aethiopian or Ethiopian Sea or Ocean”. This is a lie. Where does the historical truth lie?

II. No ‘Ethiopian Ocean’ (or Sea) in ‘Classical Geographical Works’

It is clear that 15th century maps and more recent cartography do not constitute “classical geographical works”. This term denotes Ancient Greek and Roman authors, geographers, historians, scholars, captains, merchants and sailors, who wrote texts of geographical contents.

Ancient Babylonian map of the world, first half of the first millennium BCE

Geography and cartography were highly developed in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Hittite Anatolia, Phoenicia and Carthage, as early as the 2nd millennium BCE (on the basis of documentation hitherto excavated). Pharaoh Nechao II (610-595 BCE) hired Phoenicians, who were the then world’s most skillful navigators and therefore cartographers, and tasked them (around 600 CE) with the circumnavigation of Africa, which they completed in two years, sailing clockwise around Africa. This fact was not saved in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic records, but in the part of Ancient Greek Herodotus’ Histories in which he narrates his sojourn and studies in Egypt (ca. 453-450 BCE).

Typical Phoenician boats
Phoenician boats after Assyrian bas-reliefs of the first half of the first millennium BCE

Narrating the circumnavigation of Africa, which was undertaken by the Phoenicians commissioned by Pharaoh Nechao, Herodotus names South Atlantic ‘southern sea’ (Histories, book IV, 42):

42. I wonder, then, at those who have mapped out and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe; for the difference between them is great, seeing that in length Europe stretches along both the others together, and it appears to me to be beyond all comparison broader. For Libya shows clearly that it is encompassed by the sea, save only where it borders on Asia; and this was proved first (as far as we know) by Necos king of Egypt. He, when he had made an end of digging the canal which leads from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, sent Phoenicians in ships, charging them to sail on their return voyage past the Pillars of Heracles till they should come into the northern sea and so to Egypt. So the Phoenicians set out from the Red Sea and sailed the southern sea; whenever autumn came they would put in and sow the land, to whatever part of Libya they might come, and there await the harvest; then, having gathered in the crop, they sailed on, so that after two years had passed, it was in the third that they rounded the Pillars of Heracles and came to Egypt. There they said (what some may believe, though I do not) that in sailing round Libya they had the sun on their right hand.


Assyrian representation of Phoenician boats

In Ancient Greek the text reads:

θωμάζω ν τν διουρισάντων κα διελόντων Λιβύην τε κα σίην κα Ερώπην· ο γρ σμικρ τ διαφέροντα ατέων στί· μήκεϊ μν γρ παρʼ μφοτέρας παρήκει Ερώπη, ερεος δ πέρι οδ συμβάλλειν ξίη φαίνεταί μοι εναι. Λιβύη μν γρ δηλο ωυτν note οσα περίρρυτος, πλν σον ατς πρς τν σίην ορίζει, Νεκ το Αγυπτίων βασιλέος πρώτου τν μες δμεν καταδέξαντος· ς πείτε τν διώρυχα παύσατο ρύσσων τν κ το Νείλου διέχουσαν ς τν ράβιον κόλπον, πέπεμψε Φοίνικας νδρας πλοίοισι, ντειλάμενος ς τ πίσω διʼ ρακλέων στηλέων κπλέειν ως ς τν βορηίην θάλασσαν κα οτω ς Αγυπτον πικνέεσθαι. ρμηθέντες ν ο Φοίνικες κ τς ρυθρς θαλάσσης πλεον τν νοτίην θάλασσαν· κως δ γίνοιτο φθινόπωρον προσσχόντες ν σπείρεσκον τν γν, να κάστοτε τς Λιβύης πλέοντες γινοίατο, κα μένεσκον τν μητον· θερίσαντες δʼ ν τν στον πλεον, στε δύο τέων διεξελθόντων τρίτ τεϊ κάμψαντες ρακλέας στήλας πίκοντο ς Αγυπτον. κα λεγον μο μν ο πιστά, λλ δ δή τε, ς περιπλώοντες τν Λιβύην τν λιον σχον ς τ δεξιά.


Further bibliography on the topic, you can find here:


Phoenician battle ship

III. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Iranians, the Circumnavigation of Africa, and the Geographical Terms Used 

Herodotus mentions also other efforts of circumnavigation of Africa that were undertaken but not completed successfully; the story of Sataspes, who was the nephew of the Achaemenid Iranian Emperor Darius I the Great (522-486 BCE), is quite informative. Sataspes was forced to undertake the circumnavigation of Africa to save his life. He was dispatched to Egypt (then an Iranian province named Mudraya in Old Achaemenid Iranian), thence fully equipped, and assisted to sail. He moved counterclockwise, which seems to have been a matter of bad planning or unfortunate decision; he sailed out of the Mediterranean, advanced southwards, and reached a coastland inhabited by African Pygmies probably in the area of today’s Congo. There, for undefined reasons, he decided to discontinue his voyage and returned back to Egypt and Iran; he later justified his decision as due to inability to further proceed. 

In this narrative, Herodotus uses the name ‘Libya’ (Ancient Greek for ‘Africa’) for the Black Continent’s southernmost confines (Histories, book IV, 43):

43. Thus the first knowledge of Libya was gained. The next story is that of the Carchedonians: for as for Sataspes son of Teaspes, an Achaemenid, he did not sail round Libya, though he was sent for that end; but he feared the length and the loneliness of the voyage and so returned back without accomplishing the task laid upon him by his mother. For he had raped the virgin daughter of Zopyrus son of Megabyzus; and when on this charge he was to be impaled by King Xerxes, Sataspes’ mother, who was Darius’ sister, begged for his life, saying that she would lay a heavier punishment on him than did Xerxes; for he should be compelled to sail round Libya, till he completed his voyage and came to the Arabian Gulf. Xerxes agreeing to this, Sataspes went to Egypt, where he received a ship and a crew from the Egyptians, and sailed past the Pillars of Heracles. Having sailed out beyond them, and rounded the Libyan promontory called Solois, he sailed southward; but when he had been many months sailing far over the sea, and ever there was more before him, he turned back and made sail for Egypt. Thence coming to Xerxes, he told in his story how when he was farthest distant he sailed by a country of little men, who wore palm-leaf raiment; these, whenever he and his men put in to land with their ship, would ever leave their towns and flee to the hills; he and his men did no wrong when they landed, and took naught from the people but what they needed for eating. As to his not sailing wholly round Libya, the reason (he said) was that the ship could move no farther, but was stayed. But Xerxes did not believe that Sataspes spoke truth, and as the task appointed was unfulfilled he impaled him, punishing him on the charge first brought against him. This Sataspes had an eunuch, who as soon as he heard of his master’s death escaped to Samos, with a great store of wealth, of which a man of Samos possessed himself. I know the man’s name but of set purpose forget it.

Phoenician colonization across the Mediterranean

In Ancient Greek the text reads:

οτω μν ατη γνώσθη τ πρτον, μετ δ Καρχηδόνιοι εσ ο λέγοντες· πε Σατάσπης γε Τεάσπιος νρ χαιμενίδης ο περιέπλωσε Λιβύην, πʼ ατ τοτο πεμφθείς, λλ δείσας τό τε μκος το πλόου κα τν ρημίην πλθε πίσω, οδʼ πετέλεσε τν πέταξέ ο μήτηρ εθλον. θυγατέρα γρ Ζωπύρου το Μεγαβύζου βιήσατο παρθένον· πειτα μέλλοντος ατο δι ταύτην τν ατίην νασκολοπιεσθαι π Ξέρξεω βασιλέος, μήτηρ το Σατάσπεος οσα Δαρείου δελφε παραιτήσατο, φσά ο ατ μέζω ζημίην πιθήσειν περ κενον· Λιβύην γάρ ο νάγκην σεσθαι περιπλώειν, ς ν πίκηται περιπλέων ατν ς τν ράβιον κόλπον. συγχωρήσαντος δ Ξέρξεω π τούτοισι, Σατάσπης πικόμενος ς Αγυπτον κα λαβν νέα τε κα ναύτας παρ τούτων πλεε π ρακλέας στήλας· διεκπλώσας δ κα κάμψας τ κρωτήριον τς Λιβύης τ ονομα Σολόεις στί, πλεε πρς μεσαμβρίην· περήσας δ θάλασσαν πολλν ν πολλοσι μησί, πείτε το πλενος αε δεε, ποστρέψας πίσω πέπλεε ς Αγυπτον. κ δ ταύτης πικόμενος παρ βασιλέα Ξέρξεα λεγε φς τ προσωτάτω νθρώπους μικρος παραπλέειν σθτι φοινικηί διαχρεωμένους, ο κως σφες καταγοίατο τ νη φεύγεσκον πρς τ ρεα λείποντες τς πόλιας· ατο δ δικέειν οδν σιόντες, βρωτ δ μονα ξ ατέων λαμβάνειν. το δ μ περιπλσαι Λιβύην παντελέως ατιον τόδε λεγε, τ πλοον τ πρόσω ο δυνατν τι εναι προβαίνειν λλʼ νίσχεσθαι. Ξέρξης δ ο ο συγγινώσκων λέγειν ληθέα οκ πιτελέσαντά τε τν προκείμενον εθλον νεσκολόπισε, τν ρχαίην δίκην πιτιμν. τούτου δ το Σατάσπεος ενοχος πέδρη ς Σάμον, πείτε πύθετο τάχιστα τν δεσπότεα τετελευτηκότα, χων χρήματα μεγάλα, τ Σάμιος νρ κατέσχε, το πιστάμενος τ ονομα κν πιλήθομαι.

Carthage and its hinterland

IV. Libya (: ‘Africa’), the Periplus of Hanno, and the Early Use of the Term ‘Atlantic Sea’

Early in his Histories, Herodotus names the entire sea west of Europe and Africa “Atlantic Sea” (Histories, book I, 203):

203. The Caspian is a sea by itself, having no connection with any other. The sea frequented by the Greeks, that beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which is called the Atlantic, and also the Erythraean, are all one and the same sea. But the Caspian is a distinct sea, lying by itself, in length fifteen days’ voyage with a row-boat, in breadth, at the broadest part, eight days’ voyage.


In Ancient Greek, the text reads:

δ Κασπίη θάλασσά στι πʼ ωυτς, ο συμμίσγουσα τ τέρ θαλάσσ. τν μν γρ λληνες ναυτίλλονται πσα κα ξω στηλέων θάλασσα τλαντς καλεομένη κα ρυθρ μία οσα τυγχάνει. δ Κασπίη στ τέρη πʼ ωυτς, οσα μκος μν πλόου ερεσί χρεωμέν πεντεκαίδεκα μερέων, ερος δέ, τ ερυτάτη στ ατ ωυτς, κτ μερέων. κα τ μν πρς τν σπέρην φέροντα τς θαλάσσης ταύτης Καύκασος παρατείνει, ἐὸν ρέων κα πλήθεϊ μέγιστον κα μεγάθεϊ ψηλότατον. θνεα δ νθρώπων πολλ κα παντοα ν ωυτ χει Καύκασος, τ πολλ πάντα πʼ λης γρίης ζώοντα·


Further bibliography about the topic can be found here:





Carthage: a diagram of the city and the harbor

In the middle of the 5th c. BCE, the Carthaginian king Hanno undertook an enormous expedition to colonize the Western coast of Africa; 60 penteconter (50-oared) ships sailed with 30000 colons and the necessary provisions in order either to repopulate earlier Carthaginian settlements or to found new colonies. The deeds of the expedition, which sailed across the West African coast down to today’s Sierra Leone (or to Gabon according others), were narrated in an inscription dedicated to the temple of Baal Hammon (equated to Saturn by the Ancient Romans and to Cronos by the Ancient Greeks) in Carthage. You can find further bibliography here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal_Hammon


The inscription was destroyed during the Roman conquest of Carthage (146 BCE), but it was however saved in a rather abridged Ancient Greek translation, which is certainly the product of translators working in the Library of Alexandria during the 3rd or 2nd c. BCE. The Ancient Greek translation uses terms like ‘Liby-Phoenicians’ for the ‘Carthaginians’ (i.e. Phoenicians of Africa), ‘Libya’ for Africa, and ‘Ethiopians’ (i.e. people with burned faces) for various Hamitic peoples inhabiting NW Africa. Related bibliography, further analysis, and the Ancient Greek text you can find here:




One of the earlier Ancient Greek uses of the term ‘Atlantic’ is noticed in the lyrical mythical poem ‘Geryoneis’ of Stesichorus (630-555 BCE); it dates back to the beginning of the 5th c. BCE. This is saved in fragmentary condition, and it was mentioned by later poets. The verse reads:

Carthaginian sites in NW Africa

Stesichorus in his Geryoneis calls an island in the Atlantic sea Sarpedonian.

S 86=183 P.M.G. Scholiast on Apollonius of Rhodes

In Ancient Greek, the text reads:

Στησίχορος δ ν τ Γηρυονίδι κα νσόν τινα ν τ τλαντικ πελάγει Σαρπηδονίαν φησί.

S 86 = 183 P.M.G. Schol. Ap. Rhod. 1. 211 (p. 26 Wendel)  


In this verse, the Ancient Greek poet (who was born in Calabria and lived in Sicily) refers to a location off the coast of South Thrace in the Balkan Peninsula. In Greek the term used is ‘Atlantic archipelago’ (not ‘sea’); it clearly corresponds to the sea that we now call ‘Aegean Sea’. The name relates to the mythical Atlantean generation, i.e. the people of the mythical continent of Atlantis. About:




The Ancient Greek use of the term referred to the Atlas Mountains of NW Africa, which were associated with Atlas, the mythical king of Mauritania, a homonymous king of Atlantis (which means ‘island of Atlas’), and ultimately with the archetypal, legendary figure of a Titan named Atlas. As a matter of fact, the location of the mythical Atlantis in the sea beyond the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ (i.e. Gibraltar) is the very reason for which that sea was later named ‘Atlantic’.

The Phoenician-Carthaginian god Baal Hammon
Melqart stela from Amrit
Votive statue from the Temple of Melqart in Cadiz

At this point I must clarify that the Ancient Greek appellation of Gibraltar is due to the Ancient Greek association of the Phoenician-Carthaginian god Melqart with Hercules. In reality, the two bronze pillars of the Carthaginian temple of Melqart in Gibraltar are at the origin of the Ancient Greek appellation. It would therefore be more accurate to use the expression the ‘Pillars of Melqart’.

Clarification of terms and bibliography:  









Santi Petri island, Cadiz: Temple of Melqart

V. The Terms ‘Ocean’ and ‘Sea’, and the leading Ancient Egyptian Scholar Ptolemy the Geographer

I have to highlight now a last point, namely the fact that, for all ancient nations, the large expanse of sea west of the western confines of Africa and Europe was a ‘sea’, not an ‘ocean’. This is so because the sea was identified as salted waters, whereas the ‘ocean’ was thought to be an enormous stream of ‘soft waters’ that surrounded all lands and all seas. As term, the ocean of ‘soft waters’ was extensively mythologized within the context of the Ancient Sumerian, Assyrian-Babylonian, Egyptian, Hittite, and Canaanite-Phoenician cosmogonies and cosmologies, notably as Apsu or Nun. Basics and bibliography can be found here:




The greatest of all geographers of Late Antiquity was Ptolemy the Geographer who was also a mathematician, an natural scientist, and an astronomer/astrologer; his venerated masterpiece, ‘Geography’ (Γεωγραφική Υφήγησις / Geographiki Hyphigisis / Geographical Instruction), is at the same time an atlas, a gazetteer (geographical directory) and an elaborate treatise on cartography. He describes the limits of regions, he identifies the location of mountains, rivers, promontories, islands, cities, towns and villages, and he names the races of inhabitants of all known regions of the then known world. He is the first to have used the word ‘ocean’ in the (non-mythical) sense of large expanse of sea (as we use it in Modern Times).

All maps attributed to Ptolemy the Geographer are fake, for a very simple reason: they are not his maps. They are maps designed by erudite Christian monks in the Eastern Roman Empire or in Western Europe 800 to 1300 years after Ptolemy. They only reflect the understanding of Ptolemy’s text that those monks had. These maps do not constitute therefore an authoritative documentation.


Ptolemy the Geographer never used the term ‘Ethiopian sea’ (or ‘ocean’). He used various terms to define the sea that we now call ‘Atlantic Ocean’. In his book IV, ch. 6 (associated with the 4th table of Africa), Ptolemy described the location of the limits of Inner Libya (Central Africa); in § 3, the text reads:

Από δε μεσημβρίας τη εντός Αιθιοπία, εν η Αγίσυμβα χώρα κατά γραμμήν την από του ειρημένου πέρατος έως του κατά τον Εσπέριον και Μέγαν καλούμενον κόλπον της εκτός θαλάσσης

(edidit Carolud Fridericus Augustus Nobbe, tom. I, Lipsiae 1843; p. 266 – LIB. IV. Cap.6)

In this sentence, there is no verb; this is due to the fact that the verb is stated before two paragraphs, at the very beginning of the chapter: ‘περιορίζεται’ (‘is demarcated’). 

An English translation reads as:

In its southern side, (Central Africa is demarcated) from Inner Ethiopia, where there is the land of Agisymba, by means of a line from that point up to the Hesperian Gulf, which is also called Great Gulf, of the Outer Sea.

This excerpt makes clear the following points:

i- Northern Africa from the western confines of today’s Egypt and Sudan to the Atlantic Ocean was called ‘Libya’.

ii- Ptolemy the Geographer used the traditional name of Cush (Ethiopia), i.e. Ancient Sudan, in a wider sense, referring (not only to the kingdom of Meroe but) to all lands beyond Sudan down to today’s South Africa.

iii- Ptolemy the Geographer mentions a location, namely Agisymba, which is also known to have been the end of a Roman military and commercial expedition under Julius Maternus at the time of Domitian (ca. 90 CE). Bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agisymba and https://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/brill-s-new-pauly/agisymba-e108180

iv- Ptolemy the Geographer demarcates the limits between ‘Libya’ (North Africa west of Egypt and Sudan) and ‘Ethiopia’ (viewed in a broader sense as the entire region of today’s Sudan and the southern half of Africa) through a line, which starts in the area of today’s borders between South Sudan and Central African Republic and ends in the coastlands of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon, i.e. the Gulf of Guinea.

v- The Gulf of Guinea is called by Ptolemy the Geographer ‘Hesperian (: Western) Gulf’ or ‘Great Gulf)

vi- The Atlantic Ocean is called ‘the Outer Sea’.


In the next paragraph of his text (§ 4), Ptolemy the Geographer states that “in its western side, (‘Inner Libya’ is demarcated) from the Western Ocean (τω δυτικώ ωκεανώ)”, therefore mentioning the then most commonly used term for the sea that we call nowadays ‘Atlantic Ocean’.


In his book IV, ch. 9 (associated with the 4th table of Africa), Ptolemy described the location and the limits of ‘Inner Ethiopia’ (Της εντός Αιθιοπίας θέσις: the location of Inner Ethiopia); the term ‘Inner Ethiopia’ clearly refers to the part of Eastern Africa that is located south of today’s South Sudan, Central African Republic, Uganda and North Kenya. In § 1 (p. 283 as per the above link), the text reads:

Η δε υποκειμένη ταύτη τη χώρα και τη όλη Λιβύη Αιθιοπία περιορίζεται, από μεν άρκτων ταις εκτεθειμέναις μεσημβριναίς γραμμαίς των ειρημένων χωρών, διηκούσαις τε από του Μεγάλου κόλπου της εκτός θαλάσσης, μέχρι του ειρημένου Ραπτού ακρωτηρίου, …

και έτι τω κατά τον Μέγαν κόλπον μέρει του δυτικού ωκεανού,

από δε δυσμών και μεσηβρίας αγνώστω γη,

από δε ανατολών τω από του Ραπτού ακρωτηρίου Βαρβαρικώ κόλπω, ος καλείται (Βα)τραχεία θάλασσα διά τα βράχη, μέχρι του Πράσου ακρωτηρίου, και τη εντεύθεν αγνώστω γη.

An English translation reads as:

Being located beyond that land and the entire ‘Libya’, (‘Inner’) Ethiopia is demarcated from the north by the above mentioned southern limits of the said lands; these limits (lit. lines) stretch from the Great Gulf of the Outer Sea up to the aforesaid Rhapton promontory, …

… and still to the part of the Western Ocean that is inside the Great Gulf.

(Furthermore, ‘Inner’ Ethiopia is demarcated) from the west and the south by an unknown land,

and from the east by the Gulf of Berberia, which stretches from the Rhapton promontory, which is also named ‘Harsh Sea’ because of the rocks, up to Prason promontory and the unknown land beyond.

This excerpt makes clear the following points:

i- The appellations ‘Outer Sea’ and ‘Western Ocean’ are interchangeable across Ptolemy the Geographer’s texts.

ii- South of the line going from today’s Gabon, North Congo, and the Great Lakes region to the coast of Tanzania around Daresalaam, the southern third of the Black Continent was totally unknown to Late Antiquity Egyptian and Mediterranean explorers and scholars – with the exception of the East African coast down to today’s North Mozambique.

iii- The distance from today’s Gabon to the central coastland of Mozambique was not only unknown to Ptolemy, but also incalculable.  

iv- However, it was clear to Ptolemy that those confines constituted the southernmost part of the world.

v- In fact, ‘Inner Ethiopia’ is located south of the demarcation line with ‘Inner Libya’ (see point ii), and consequently, the Black Continent’s southern part is called either ‘Inner Ethiopia’ or ‘unknown land’.


In his book VIII, ch. 13 {which contains the first table (map) of Africa (‘Libya’)}, Ptolemy described the contents and the limits of the map. Specifying how the map is delimited (§ 2), he defines the western limit of the map as per below:

Περιορίζεται δε ο πίναξ …. από δε δύσεως τω δυτικώ Ωκεανώ, …

(Ptolemy Kart Friedrich August Nobbe, Claudii Ptolemaei Geographia, tom. II, Lipsiae 1845; p. 215 – Libyae Tabula I)

An English translation reads as:

And the map is delimited …. from the west by the Western Ocean, …

This shows that the two most ordinary terms used by Ptolemy the Geographer to denote the Atlantic Ocean are ‘outer sea’ and ‘Western Ocean’. Ptolemy never used the term ‘Ethiopian Sea’ (or ocean).

A list of Ancient Greek and Roman geographers and related bibliography can be found here:










VI. The Treaties of Alcáçovas (1479), Tordesillas (1494) and Zaragoza (1529), and the Use of the Terms ‘Sea of Ethiopia’ and ‘Sea of India’

During the Christian/Islamic Times in Western Europe, Ptolemy the Geographer’s works constituted the most authoritative source of information about faraway lands where Western Europeans could not travel because they were in war with the Muslims, who organized in different empires and kingdoms, sultanates, emirates and khanates controlled progressively 2/3 of Asia, 2/3 of Africa, and 1/3 of Europe.  

During the Crusades, many knights belonging to several Christian religious orders encountered and secretively cooperated with various members and leaders of Muslim mystical orders, thus taking with them back to Europe a plethora of valuable documentation of either scientific-scholarly or spiritual contents. The Crusaders mainly targeted the Eastern Roman Empire, which managed to withstand the attacks of Muslim armies for several hundreds of years and after the middle of the 10th c. started recovering territories from the Islamic Caliphate, notably Antioch (Antakya) in 969. The real intention of the Crusades launched by the pope of Rome was not the recapture of Jerusalem and the Christian Holy Lands, but the obstruction of the Eastern Roman Reconquista; in other words, the schismatic papal authorities of Rome wanted to prevent the Orthodox Eastern Roman Emperors from conquering Jerusalem, which was located at a distance of less than 700 km from the borders of the re-strengthened ‘Romania’ (Ρωμανία: this was the official name of the Eastern Roman Empire).  

The Crusaders failed to consolidate their early victories and, as they united Eastern Christians, Jews and Muslims against them, returned home, defeated. The only tangible and permanent result was the debilitation of the Eastern Roman Empire, which was temporarily invaded by the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade (1204-1261). Following the collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire at 1453, the path of the Western European pseudo-Christian kingdoms had opened for the colonial conquest of the West and the diffusion of the Roman Anti-Christ. The supreme master of the colonial expansion overseas was the pope of Rome; when the overseas criminality of the Portuguese and the Spaniards started at the very end of the 15th c., he had already got rid of the sole Christian opponent, who could denounce and reject the deeply anti-Christian activities of the conquistadors worldwide: the Eastern Roman Empire.

The detailed study of Ptolemy the Geographer’s text, the deep knowledge of all the terms and the names that he recorded, and the meticulous investigation of the associated cartography occupied a high position among the tasks of the papal scholars, who advised and guided the various navigators, naval officers, and colonial gangsters of Portugal and Spain. It was clear to them that Africa could certainly be circumnavigated and they were fully aware of the scrupulous division of the Black Continent that Ptolemy systematically made in his masterpiece (as per above).

It can therefore be easily understood -on the basis of the aforementioned- that every 15th c. Italian, Spanish or Portuguese geographer, cartographer and adviser to a colonial expedition, who had a strong background in Ptolemy’s Geography, would easily extend the use of Ptolemy’s term ‘Inner Ethiopia’ (or simply ‘Ethiopia’) to various parts of Ptolemy’s ‘unknown lands’ where he may have sailed in the last years of the 15th c. and afterwards. Examples: the coasts of today’s Angola, Namibia, South Africa and South Mozambique and their inlands may have been expansively called ‘Ethiopia’ (see above Unit V, 3- THIRD EXCERPT, v-).

This would be a reason to also name the surrounding seas ‘Ethiopian Sea’ or ‘Ethiopian Ocean’. However, the need for new names would arise very soon after Bartolomeu Dias reached the ‘ Cabo das Tormentas’ (Cape of Storms), which was later renamed as Cape of Good Hope, in May 1488, and Vasco da Gama effectuated the first voyage from Western Europe to India (1497-1499). Why the need for new names would arise it is easy to grasp. The old terms used by Ptolemy the Geographer could not stand anymore; the term ‘Western Ocean’ would be meaningless, because if the Atlantic Ocean was named ‘Western Ocean’, the Pacific Ocean {crossed by Magellan (1480-1521) and his fleet during the period 1519-1522} could be viewed as further located in the West. The same is also valid for Ptolemy the Geographer’s term ‘Outer Sea’, which reflects only world perceptions and worldviews of people grown and educated in the Mediterranean.  

The fierce antagonism between the Portuguese and the Spaniards risked jeopardizing the papal plans for Roman predominance worldwide though colonial conquests, forced Christianization, and mass killings of the various indigenous peoples in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Who had the right to colonize a land or island became a major and most thorny problem; that’s why the 15th c. and 16th c. Catholic popes

– issued many documents (namely ‘papal bulls’, like Æterni regis, which was issued in 1481, Inter caetera, which was published in 1493, and Dudum siquidem, which was communicated also in 1493),

– convened many conferences (like the Badajoz Junta in 1524) for royal delegates to negotiate, and

– signed many treaties (notably the Treaty of Alcáçovas in 1479, the Treaty of Tordesillas in1494, the treaty of Vitoria in 1524, and the Treaty of Zaragoza in1529) with the two royal houses (of Castile/Spain and Portugal).

It was essential for the Catholic popes to prevent wars between Portugal and Castile, like the Battle of Toro (1476), the Battle of Guinea (1478), and the War of the Castilian Succession (1475-1479).

Perhaps the Treaty of Alcáçovas is the most important, when it comes to the conceptualization and the contextualization of the New World Order, which was tantamount to the colonization and brought about the elimination of three great Islamic Empires and of a plethora of sultanates, emirates and khanates. It introduced a new approach to the world affairs, by totally denying any native people the right to be self-administered / self-ruled, if they did not belong to one Christian European monarch – puppet of the Catholic pope. This treaty (1479) generated a precedent, because it implemented the concept that indigenous nations do not have the right to even be asked about their colonization by ‘Christian’ killers, gangsters, and genocide perpetrators; more critically, this concept applied for all lands – worldwide. In fact, it triggered the colonial race, which ensued and lasted for more than five centuries, down to our days.

However, the Treaty of Tordesillas, which was only complemented by the Treaty of Zaragoza, was more important because technically it meant that the entire Muslim world was deprived from the right to sail anywhere. By introducing the concept of papal lines of demarcation between the Portuguese and the Spanish maritime / colonial zones of colonial rule and commercial exploitation, the Treaty of Tordesillas prohibited any other nation’s boats from sailing anywhere and consequently from colonizing overseas territories. In fact, the papal lines of demarcation appeared first in the papal bull Inter caetera (1493) in which it was stipulated that all the lands located west of a vertical, north-south line passing 100 leagues west of the Azores should belong to Castile (Spain). In the Treaty of Tordesillas, the papal line only moved 270 leagues west to generate a balance between the two Catholic colonial nations.

The treaty of Tordesillas turned the Spaniards toward the Americas and the Portuguese to the South (i.e. today’s Brazil and Western/Southwestern Africa) and the East (i.e. the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and further up to today’s Indonesia). In 25 years, the future of the Islamic world was mortgaged to the hilt. All the same, the spectrum of another Portuguese-Spanish war came back in force, after the Portuguese, having sailed through the Indian Ocean, landed in the Moluccas (Maluku) islands of today’s Indonesia, and few years later, the Spaniards arrived there too, sailing the other way round through the Pacific Ocean, while effectuating the circumnavigation of the Earth (the famous Magellan–Elcano expedition, 1519–1522). A provisory agreement was concluded with the Treaty of Vitoria (1524), which called for a bilateral conference; however the dispute was not solved in the Badajoz–Elvas conference (1524), and it was only with the Treaty of Zaragoza (1529) that a second papal line of demarcation was drawn, this time 297.5 leagues east of the Moluccas.

With the second papal demarcation line, the entire world was divided into two zones (later called hemispheres): Portuguese and Spanish. In fact, almost all the seas of the world were declared “mare clausum” (Latin for ‘closed sea’). The only exceptions were the North Atlantic (north of the Tropic of Cancer; involving also the North Sea and the Baltic Sea) and the Mediterranean Sea (including the Black Sea).

The two papal demarcation lines, i.e. the Meridian (in the Atlantic) and the Anti-Meridian (in the Pacific)

1. ‘NORTH SEA’ (West Atlantic) & ‘SOUTH SEA’ (most of the Pacific) for Spain

It was then that the need for new names appeared, so that the papal cartographers immortalize their New World Order, which trapped the Islamic World in an impasse that heralded the end of every Islamic empire, kingdom or independent state. The western part of the Atlantic was viewed as their ‘North Sea’ and the largest part of the Pacific (until the demarcation line east of the Moluccas) was named ‘South Sea’.

2. ‘SEA OF INDIA’ (Indian Ocean and West Pacific) & ‘ SEA OF ETHIOPIA’ (Portuguese Sector in South Atlantic) for Portugal

Similarly, the Portuguese introduced the term ‘ Sea of India’ for all the seas between the Cape of Good Hope and the second papal demarcation line east of the Moluccas. This large expanse of sea corresponded almost to what the Ancient Greeks and Romans called ‘Red Sea’ (‘Erythraean Sea’) during the Antiquity; but it also included South China Sea and the Sea of Japan (as per the papal demarcation line). Then, for the Portuguese sector in Central and South Atlantic (south of the Tropic of Cancer) the term ‘Sea of Ethiopia’ was invented and used on the aforementioned grounds, namely the fact that Ptolemy the Geographer named the lands from Gabon to Tanzania ‘Inner Ethiopia’.

It is however technically wrong to imagine that 16th–19th c. cartographers called the entire South Atlantic ‘Sea of Ethiopia’ or ‘Ethiopian Ocean’ or ‘Ethiopic Sea’. This name concerned only the Portuguese sector in South Atlantic, namely east of the first papal demarcation line (stipulated in the Treaty Tordesillas, 1494). This means that the sea off the coast of Uruguay and Argentina, which belonged to Spain, was not named ‘Sea of Ethiopia’.

Note that in this map the detail is clearly shown: the sea off the coasts of Uruguay and Argentina is not part of the ‘Sea of Ethiopia’; it is colored as ‘Sea of the North’ because it belongs to Spain and not to Portugal.

The two papal demarcation lines were called Meridian (1494) and Anti-Meridian (1529). However, the two sectors were not exactly equal, although the kings of Spain insisted on this; the Portuguese got a slightly larger portion, namely 191 degrees of the Earth circumference, and the Spaniards had to be satisfied with about 169 degrees. It is however clear that the two major colonial treaties and the demarcation lines were not respected scrupulously.

These were the circumstances under which Ptolemy the Geographer’s use of the term ‘Inner Ethiopia’ for the northern part of Africa’s southern half exerted a so posterior impact as regards a sea where the Ancient Cushitic Qore (kings) of Napata and Meroe in today’s Sudan would have never imagined to sail. Their heirs, namely today’s Arabic-speaking Sudanese and the Cushitic nations of the Oromos, the Sidamas and others, must find it strange that the name by which the Ancient Greeks and Romans named their ancestors had a so long history and ramifications – to which the Amhara and Tigray Abyssinian tribes and the modern colonial state of Abyssinia (Fake Ethiopia) are totally unrelated, except for ludicrously and shamelessly usurping names that are not theirs. Sic transit gloria mundi!

James Rennell’s map 1799

However, this posterior impact of Ptolemy’s use of the term ‘Inner Ethiopia’ took gradually an end; this happened, when the mare clausum of the two Catholic colonial kingdoms started being challenged by several rising rival European kingdoms and states, namely the Dutch Republic (1588-1795), France, and England, which advanced the principle of ‘mare liberum’ (free sea). At the forefront of this effort was a very remarkable Dutch thinker and scholar Hugo Grotius, who wrote a homonymous book to defend the interests of the corporation for which he worked: the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; VOC). With ‘mare liberum’ and VOC, the entire world entered the second stage of European colonialism, the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal started shrinking, and gradually the term ‘Sea of Ethiopia’ was forgotten.

Spanish colonial empire
Portuguese colonial empire

For further research about this topics, go through the bibliography and the historical sources that you can find here:















Cantino planisphere 1502







Click to access 12.ICSevilla2019_Tratado-de-Zaragoza-a15.pdf















Portuguese and Spanish trade lines

Attention: the following two links contain numerous mistakes, distortions and nonsensical sentences probably written by some ignorant idiots hired or bribed by the illegitimate and felonious embassies of Abiy Ahmed’s criminal, tyrannical government, which has no right and no authority to represent the numerous oppressed and persecuted nations that have been subjugated and imprisoned in the colonial state of Abyssinia (Fake Ethiopia):  



South America in 1650

VII. The Treaties of Alcáçovas, Tordesillas and Zaragoza, Portuguese-Spanish Colonial Conquests, Ottoman Ignorance and Stiffness, and the Collapse of the Islamic World

Going beyond the simple ‘Sea of Ethiopia’ name issue, the associated cartography, and the earlier colonial conquests, I must underscore the fact that few people today understand how dramatically World History was reversed in the late 15th and early 16th c. The shock caused in the 40-year period (1492-1532) was incommensurately greater than that triggered in the early 7th c. because of Islam (622-662) and stronger than the one prompted in the early 4th c. due to the Christianization of the Roman Empire (313-353).

As material conquests, the new territories conquered by the conquistadores for the benefit of the crowns of Spain and Portugal during this 40-year period, although significant, really pale if compared with the territorial advances made and the wealth accumulated by Timur (Tamerlane) and Genghis Khan or by the early caliphs during the 7th c. Islamic conquests. Other, earlier rulers and conquerors invaded larger territories in shorter time: Alexander the Great or Darius the Great. Even Selim I, who was contemporary with the events that founded the Portuguese and Spanish colonial empires, conquered more lands in eight (8) years of reign (1512-1520) than the Iberian conquistadores in 40 years (the territories of today’s Eastern Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Emirates, Yemen and Egypt).

Why was the shock caused by the conquistadores far greater and lasted longer?

Many would respond to this question, saying that overseas expansion brings (due to various reasons) greater wealth to a colonial metropolis than continental land conquest does.

Others would focus on the dramatic material and military superiority of the conquistadores over the invaded empires or tribes.

Several historians would explain the phenomenon by pointing out that, due to the 15th c. – 16th c. Iberian maritime expansions, the entire world trade was remodeled after very different plans, patterns, methods and processes terminating the continental empires’ prevalence across the trade routes.

Various historians of religion would underscore the fact that the widespread, forced evangelization of numerous nations and vast populations across the world by the Iberian Catholic missionaries was an unprecedented event in the History of the Mankind, which is tantamount to spiritual and physical genocide and to perpetuation of ceaseless series of crimes against the Mankind.

This is true; neither the early Islamic conquests nor Genghis Khan’s thunderous invasions led to such criminal acts of religion enforcement and mass killings.

However, the aforementioned approaches (and numerous other interpretations) are not erroneous, but they reveal only aspects of the phenomenon herewith described. I believe that the 5-century long irreversibility of this phenomenon has more to do with the core nature of the acts that were then perpetrated however one may narrate or present them. Undoubtedly, these acts and events were totally evil and inhuman, and, if one needs a religious definition, they were inherently Anti-Christian. The core nature of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial conquests reflected a totally different notion, ethos, mindset, mentality, approach, attitude and conviction that had not been hitherto attested throughout the History of the Mankind.

This notion was first revealed in the Treaty of Alcáçovas (1479) whereby no indigenous nation (in either known or unknown lands or islands) was thought of as capable of self-rule, self-administration, and self-determination. It is in that treaty, which basically concerned bilateral Portuguese-Spanish relations, that the concept of Catholic world dominance was explicitly evoked, conceding to all the other humans, either inhabitants of major empires or members of minor tribes, no right to be asked about their opinion, choice and will. 

This ultra-totalitarian concept certainly threatened all the nations of the world, and it is due to this notion that Spain and Portugal first and several other European nations (Holland, France and England) later colonized the entire world, but what matters most for us to study (and what determined the world developments over the past 500 years) is the reaction of the other major empires and states of the then world.

Evaluating all aspects and repercussions of the phenomenon of the early 16th c. Portuguese and Spanish thalassocracy and colonial hegemony, we can easily identify the major empires and states that were targeted by the two crowns and impacted by the aforementioned notion and concept, which epitomized the acts and deeds of the Iberian conquistadors.

Genoa and Venice

Genoa and Venice were formidable Mediterranean maritime forces and very wealthy republics, thanks to their historical trade with the East; they were in constant wars with the Ottoman Empire and they could not be involved in the colonial conquests at an early level, but the flourishing and powerful Genoese and Venetian bankers and magnates, who were also present in the Iberian Peninsula and interconnected with numerous institutions there, would certainly be able to extract great benefit from Spain’s and Portugal’s colonial acquisitions – which they did.

Genoa around 1400
Venice in the 15th-16th c.

France, Holland and England

Due to the treaties of Tordesillas and Zaragoza, France, Holland and England were left with the North Atlantic, which would only offer them meager benefits compared with those of Spain and Portugal; however, these Western European states accepted the aforementioned notion and concept, which are the quintessence of colonialism, and prepared themselves to contravene the arbitrary papal presumption of ‘mare clausum’ (closed sea). It took them some time to be ready and when they were, they counter-attacked, advancing their own presumption of ‘mare liberum’ (free sea), at the very antipodes of the peremptory papal nonsense.

Map of Asia around 1600


Throughout their very long History, the Chinese were constituted as a great continental empire with significant maritime activity alongside the eastern coastlands of Asia and with strong commercial connections with all the other Asiatic kingdoms and empires. More particularly in the early 16th c., China had ordinary and close commercial relations with the Kazakh and Uzbek khanates, and the three major Islamic empires, namely the Mughal Empire of South Asia, the Safavid Empire of Iran, and the Ottoman Empire.

However, China was never a colonial empire, and every Chinese activity beyond China’s borders was always undertaken for two reasons only, namely to damage a dangerous invader and to ensure peace across the trade routes west of China. The notion and concept contained in the treaties of Alcáçovas, Tordesillas and Zaragoza were absolutely alien and inhuman to the peaceful and serene Chinese worldview and world conceptualization. That mindset and attitude was opposite to Chinese culture and faiths as attested throughout millennia. Similarly, the papal demarcation lines were meaningless to the Chinese as fully contradictory to the traditional Chinese humanism. About Chinese humanism:


Ottoman Empire, Safavid Empire of Iran, and Mughal Empire

The three major Islamic empires were arguably in the first half of the 16th c. the world’s three largest and most powerful states, with Ming China being the fourth. Contrarily to China, they had a certain ‘colonial’ tradition (although the term ‘colonial’ here is used with a totally different meaning, rather related to historical colonialism during the Antiquity and the Christian/Islamic times). All three empires emerged as continuation of earlier empires with a great past, an outstanding historical heritage, and therefore continuous presence across the trade routes between East and West, namely the historical commercial network that we now call “silk, spice and frankincense trade routes across lands, deserts and seas”.

The Mughal Empire and other Kingdoms of South-Southeast Asia
The Mughal Empire in its greatest expansion

The Mughal Empire’s (and the earlier Delhi sultanates’) sphere of influence, cultural radiation, and commercial contacts stretched from China and Southeast Asia to Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the coastland of Eastern Africa. However, the Mughal Empire (and its predecessors) never had an involvement in the Mediterranean.

The Iranian sphere of influence, cultural radiation, and commercial contacts stretched from the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean to the coastland of Eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, South-Southeast Asia, and China. However, any Iranian kingdom or empire and any state based in Iran anytime during the Islamic Ages never had an involvement in the Mediterranean.

The Safavid Empire of Iran

The Ottoman Empire was the continuation of the Eastern Roman Empire with another official religion and another official language. Long before becoming the caliph of the Islamic Caliphate, the Ottoman Sultan willingly became Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire and he was therefore styled ‘Qaysar-i Rum’, i.e. ‘Caesar of Rome’ (قیصر روم/Kayser-i Rûm). Idiotically invading in 1453 a rather insignificant remnant of the erstwhile formidable Eastern Roman Empire, i.e. Constantinople, Mehmet II was inevitably burdened with an enormously heavy past of incessant Roman-Constantinopolitan clashes, disputes, intrigues, wars, plots and hatred that had already lasted for almost 1000 years. Either Mehmet II knew or did not know what he was doing, as soon as he became real successor to the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos (29 May 1453), Mehmet II drew upon him the unequalled rage and the vicious rancor of the scheming Catholic popes. About:


Mehmet II’s successors did not have a clue about what the Catholic pope was about to prepare against them; that’s why they inanely thought they had to fight for their faith, whereas in reality they had to fight for bearing the title of Eastern Roman Emperor – something that all the Catholic popes after the First Schism (869 – and even earlier) wanted to deprive the monarchs of the Eastern Roman Empire of. The entire worldview, the world conceptualization, and the perception of targets, tasks and expansion perspectives that all Ottoman sultans had in mind were disastrously erroneous, puerile and nonsensical. Even more catastrophically, victims of their pseudo-Sunni and bogus-Islamic theologians, sheikhulislams, qadis, muftis and imams, the Ottoman sultans hated their own Turkish people; they repeatedly persecuted, butchered, and exiled their Anatolian Turkmen subjects – not to mention other ethnic groups. The Anti-Turkmen hysteria of the Ottoman family became very clear 60 years after the useless conquest of Constantinople, namely at the time of the Shahqulu Revival of Anatolian Mysticism (شاه قولو‎ / Şāh ḳulu) in 1511-1512.  

The Ottoman Empire wasted its strength to preserve worthless deserts.

To please and satisfy the heretic, pseudo-Muslim and anti-Islamic theologians of Constantinople, Selim I suppressed the freedom of the Anatolian Turkmen population, persecuted and massacred dozens of thousands of people, thus implementing a sectarian and self-destructive policy, which turned the outright majority of his sultanate’s Muslim inhabitants against him. Thousands of Qizilbash Muslims when then exiled in Mora (today’s Peloponnesus in South Greece). This meant that the criminal and disreputable sultan was the enemy of his own nation, being merely a puppet at the hands of the idiotic religious sect that controlled his state. Bibliography and historical sources can be found here, although the events are poorly described:



So blind Selim I was that he could not even understand the reason why most of his Janissaries rebelled when he advanced to the East in order to declare war against another Islamic state, namely the Safavid Empire of Iran. This concludes the case of the Ottoman Empire, which was a failed state already in the early 16th c., although this reality became evident to all only 400 years later. Look now at it in its real dimensions:

When the Catholic popes spent time and effort to solve the differences between two Christian monarchs, the pseudo-Muslim theologians of Constantinople incited Selim I to undertake a war against another Islamic Empire!

When the Catholic monarchs used to incite their subjects to check their chances by exploring and exploiting new lands overseas, Selim I oppressed, killed and deported his own state’s unfortunate inhabitants.

Who were truly the worse rulers for the Muslims?

The Catholic kings of Castile/Spain, who simply expelled from their land those who did not have their own faith (in 1492)…

… or Selim I, who exiled far from Anatolia those who had the same faith with him (in 1511-1512)?

The weakness of the Ottoman Empire is characteristically underscored thanks to similar comparisons that every person, thinking out-of-the-box, can easily make, without being a specialized Turcologist.

Then, what can one say about the Ottoman ignorance and stiffness?

The second half of the 15th c. and the 16th c. are considered, very correctly, as the peak of the Ottoman civilization and power. From 1413 until 1595 (from Mehmed I to Murad III), namely for 182 years, in reality and despite several other pretenders, only eight (8) monarchs reigned the Ottoman Empire. This shows an impressive stability with an average reign period of ca. 23 years! However, there was no knowledge, no intelligence, and no vision. There were only a) a permanent, lascivious interest for voluptuous moments in the harem and b) a recurring passion for harsh moments in the battlefield, especially if the looting would end up with the arrival of many new virgin girls in the harem of the Constantinopolitan palace of the Ottoman ‘caliphs’.

The Ottoman sultans failed to have intelligence and insight into their enemies’ realms; they knew nothing about the treaties of Alcáçovas, Tordesillas and Zaragoza, let alone the extremely alarming notions and concepts involved (as per above). Then, it is their own mistake that they underestimated the real dangers, which existed for their state. In this regard, during the 16th and the early 17th c., the Ottoman Empire failed to react at least in the manner the European rivals of Spain and Portugal did. After that moment, everything was lost for the stubborn Ottoman family that wanted to rule a universal empire as a tribal enclosure. But very few were then smart enough to realize that the Sick Man of Europe had been contaminated already in the 15th c.

The stupidity of the Ottoman dynasty and administration made many millions of Europeans laugh to death during the 19th and the early 20th c.

Even worse, there was no vision, and this is so, because never an Ottoman felt as universal Islamic Emperor and Caliph. There was no real interest in uniting all Muslims (to say the least) in a centralized caliphate, because there had never been any properly centralized form of governance in any Islamic state (with only few exceptions which only confirm the rule). And at this point, I don’t mean modern states’ centralization, but at least Roman Empire-level centralization.

When Selim I managed to win over Ismail I Safavid in Chaldiran (1514), he had an absolutely unique opportunity to unite in one realm all the lands between the Balkans and the Indus River. In fact, only an empire this big could possibly mobilize the resources needed to oppose the Spaniards and the Portuguese in the open seas. But to unite populations in the first place, you have to be anyone else except an Ottoman. They were a highly sectarian family and therefore an early failed state with a pathetic administration, which preferred to control the useless sands of Arabia and Egypt, instead of really rebuilding the world after the illustrious and unsurpassed example of Timur (Tamerlane) whose conquests regenerated the Islamic World and brought about what scholars worldwide rightfully call nowadays ‘Timurid Renaissance’ (https://es.unesco.org/silkroad/node/467).

However, Timur disdained terribly the miserable Ottomans whom he vanquished in 1402; unfortunately for them, the descendants of Bayazit I did not take the lesson and did not make of Timur their own supreme prototype. That’s why the Ottomans were repeatedly humiliated, constantly defeated, and finally dissolved by Kemal Ataturk; their last reigning offspring, Mehmed VI Vahdettin, was expelled from the Yildiz Palace in Istanbul, and he had to sail on an English warship to Malta and then San Remo before he died in 1926. This nefarious misfortune will also befall on any idiots who use the brainless Ottomans as a possible model for their own dirty politics. But this will be the topic of another article.



Mapmakers once referred to the southern Atlantic Ocean as the Ethiopian Ocean



An ostrich walks next to the Atlantic Ocean at South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.. Few people know that the southern Atlantic Ocean was once referred by mapmakers as the Ethiopian ocean.

By Mary Alexander

Chief copy editor and Facebook program coordinator, Africa Check

May 2, 2021

“The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century,” reads text on a graphic posted on Instagram last month.

It includes what looks like a part of an old map showing the western coastline of Africa, the ocean labelled “Aethiopian Ocean.”

The graphic’s caption adds: “Today’s southern half of the Atlantic Ocean in classical geographical works was known as Aethiopian or Ethiopian Sea or Ocean. The name remained in maps from ancient times until 19th century.” But a comment on the post points out: “Totally great, except Ethiopia is on the other side of the continent!”

And Facebook’s fact-checking system (Instagram belongs to Facebook) has flagged the post as possibly false.

Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa, on the eastern side of the continent. Is it true that the Atlantic Ocean, on Africa’s west coast, was once called the Ethiopian Ocean?

An ancient name

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world. Its name derives from the ancient Greek “Aethiopia”, which Europeans used to describe various parts of Africa. It is mentioned several times in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, ancient sagas said to be written by Homer more than 2,000 years ago.

In 2014, Princeton University in the US held an exhibition of its library collection of old maps of Africa produced by European mapmakers from 1541 to 1880. The exhibition remains online.

A misshapen 1554 map from the collection doesn’t name any of Africa’s oceans, and roughly labels the western region of today’s Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon as “Aethiopia.” (It also says “monoculi”—one-eyed people—live there.)

Related: Why is Central Africa missing from so many maps?

But a map dated 1584, 30 years later, names the ocean to the west of Africa and south of the equator as “Oceanus Aethiopicus”—Latin for “Ethiopian Ocean.” This is today’s South Atlantic Ocean. On the map, the ocean north of the equator is labelled “Oceanus Atlanticus,” the Atlantic Ocean.

The next map in the online Princeton collection is from 1644. Again, the Ethiopian Ocean is west of Africa and south of the equator. The waters north of the equator are named “Mare Atlanticum”—the Atlantic Sea. A sea is generally understood to be smaller than an ocean.

The Ethiopian Ocean starts to disappear in a map dated 1710. Here, the coastal region from Africa’s western bulge to its southern tip is the “Ethiopian Sea.” Everything west of that, north and south of the equator to a coastline identified as “part of Brasil,” is the Atlantic Ocean.

Related: Africa as you’ve probably never seen it before, courtesy of NASA

On the map, almost all of central Africa—but not today’s Ethiopia—is labeled: “ETHIOPIA this Country is wholly Unknown to the EUROPEANS”.

The Ethiopian Ocean does not appear in any of the later maps in the Princeton collection, which date from 1737 to 1880. A slight exception is a French map from 1787, which labels the ocean south of Africa as “Ocean Meridion ou Ethiopien” – the Meridian or Ethiopian Ocean.

The collection is just a sample of the many old European maps of Africa, so it’s not evidence that the name did not persist on other maps until the 19th century, or 1800s. But it does show that at least the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean was once known as the Ethiopian Ocean.

This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organization. View the original piece on their website.



Yes, the southern Atlantic Ocean was once known as the Ethiopian Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century,


The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century,” reads text on a graphic posted on Instagram in April 2021.

It includes what looks like a part of an old map showing the western coastline of Africa, the ocean labelled “Aethiopian Ocean”.

The graphic’s caption adds: “Today’s southern half of the Atlantic Ocean in classical geographical works was known as Aethiopian or Ethiopian Sea or Ocean. The name remained in maps from ancient times until 19th century.”

But a comment on the post points out: “Totally great, except Ethiopia is on the other side of the continent!”

And Facebook’s fact-checking system (Instagram belongs to Facebook) has flagged the post as possibly false.

Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa, on the eastern side of the continent. Is it true that the Atlantic Ocean, on Africa’s west coast, was once called the Ethiopian Ocean?

An ancient name

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world. Its name derives from the ancient Greek “Aethiopia”, which Europeans used to describe various parts of Africa. It is mentioned several times in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, ancient sagas said to be written by Homer more than 2,000 years ago.

In 2014, Princeton University in the US held an exhibition of its library collection of old maps of Africa produced by European mapmakers from 1541 to 1880. The exhibition remains online.

A misshapen 1554 map from the collection doesn’t name any of Africa’s oceans, and roughly labels the western region of today’s Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon as “Aethiopia”. (It also says “monoculi” – one-eyed people – live there.)

The next map in the online Princeton collection is from 1644. Again, the Ethiopian Ocean is west of Africa and south of the equator. The waters north of the equator are named “Mare Atlanticum” – the Atlantic Sea. A sea is generally understood to be smaller than an ocean.

The Ethiopian Ocean starts to disappear in a map dated 1710. Here, the coastal region from Africa’s western bulge to its southern tip is the “Ethiopian Sea”. Everything west of that, north and south of the equator to a coastline identified as “part of Brasil”, is the Atlantic Ocean.

On the map, almost all of central Africa – but not today’s Ethiopia – is labelled: “ETHIOPIA this Country is wholly Unknown to the EUROPEANS”

The Ethiopian Ocean does not appear in any of the later maps in the Princeton collection, which date from 1737 to 1880. A slight exception is a French map from 1787, which labels the ocean south of Africa as “Ocean Meridion ou Ethiopien” – the Meridian or Ethiopian Ocean.

The collection is just a sample of the many old European maps of Africa, so it’s not evidence that the name did not persist on other maps until the 19th century, or 1800s. But it does show that at least the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean was once known as the Ethiopian Ocean.



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