by Said Hamdun & Noel King
Abdalla Ibn Battuta (1304-1354) has been celebrated as one of the greatest travelers of pre-modern times. Of all medieval travel writers, including Marco Polo, only Ibn Battuta penetrated deep into black Africa and provided unique documentation as well as a highly personal report of private lives and morals, religion and scholarship, and trade and government in East and West Africa. Here we read about the warm hospitality of the people of Mogadishu, the generosity of the sultan of Kilwa, disapproving descriptions of personal freedoms women enjoyed in the blossoming West African kingdom of Mali, and hostility toward the white man. Ibn Battuta traveled to Black Africa twice: in 1331 to the East Coast and in 1351-1352 from Morocco down the Sahara to the Niger. He reported about the wealthy, multicultural trading centers at the African East Coast, especially Mombasa and Kilwa. Ibn Battuta visited the legendary kingdom of Mali and its neighboring states during the area's period of prosperity from mining and trans-Saharan trade.
Paperback: 118 pages