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Ibn Khaldün (AD 1331–1406)

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

Ibn Khaldün al Hadrami was a great Arab historian and philosopher of history and social sciences. Compared in the West to Thucydides and Machiavelli, he developed a theory of world history embedded in sociology, social psychology, demography, and cultural ecology. He was also active in politics and the practice and teaching of law.

We know of his life from contemporary records and from his autobiography Kitab al-ta'rif bi-Ibn Khaldum wa rihlatuhu gharban was sharqan (Information About Ibn Khaldün and His Travels West and East). He was born in Tunis to an upper-class family that fled Andalusia after the fall of Seville to the Reconquista and had served the Hafsid dynasty, but he withdrew from politics into mysticism. Both his parents died in the plague epidemic in ...

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