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Ibn Battuta (AD 1304–1368)

  • By: Marina A. Tolmacheva
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Ibn Battuta was the greatest medieval traveler and author of an extensive travel account. His full recorded name reflects his North African origin: Shams al-Din Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah al-Lawati al-Tanji. He was born in Tangier to a family of Islamic jurists and ended his days as a judge (qadi) in rural Morocco.

The story of his travels, which took place between 1325 and 1355, was dictated in Fez to the young court writer Ibn Juzayy (1321–1356) on the orders of the Marinid Sultan of Morocco Abu ‘Inan. Ibn Battuta traveled routes extending 3 times those of Marco Polo, but he mostly stayed within the countries under Muslim rule. He was not a learned geographer and made no claims to academic learning, but he was ...

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