Piri Reis was an Ottoman admiral born around 1465, in Gallipoli on the Dardanelles. He began to serve as a privateer in the Ottoman Navy as a youth and after many years of fighting against Spanish, Genoese and Venetian navies, he rose to the rank of Reis (Admiral). Following his defeat in 1554 (when he was about 90 years old) against the Portuguese navy in the Red Sea, the sultan ordered him beheaded.
He is best known for his maps and charts collected in his Book of the Sea. He gained his fame as a map maker after a small part of his world map (prepared in 1513) was discovered in 1929, in Istanbul. The most interesting points of the map were its accuracy and a small continent that seemed to be linked to the southernmost tip of Southern America. Various people including Charles Hapgood and Erich von Daniken considered this as a sign for the discovery of the continent of Antarctica a many centuries before the traditionally accepted date and even as a proof for the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations, which were supposed to have drawn the original map.