Abu Abdullah MuhammadIbn Battuta(Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد ابن بطوطة) • Born February 24, 1304 in Tangier • Death: Possibly between 1368 and 1377 in Morocco
What did Ibn Battuta do? • Ibn Battuta started on his travels when he was 20 years old in 1325. • His main reason to travel was to go on a Hajj, or a Pilgrimage to Mecca. • But his traveling went on for about 29 years and he covered about 75,000 miles visiting the equivalent of 44 modern countries.
Where did he go? • He crossed North Africa, Palestine as far north as Syria, and Arabia to Mecca. After several years there, he went on to Iraq, Iran and southern Arabia. From Aden, he sailed to Somalia and Tanzania, then back to the Persian Gulf, overland to Mecca, then Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, the Crimea and the Balkans, to Constantinople. Then through southern Russia to central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, then south to the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Assam, and Bengal (all in either India or Bangladesh), then to Malaysia and Indochina to China. After he returned to Tangier, he traveled to Spain, then went south and walked across the Sahara to Mali.
Muslim Travels • These regions were mostly under the governments of Muslim leaders. • Ibn Battuta would seldom be far from fellow Muslims on his travels, and he would greatly benefit from the charity and hospitality offered to Muslim travelers and pilgrims.
Fact or Fiction • Most of his story was written from memory, since he could not carry notes for decades. • He dictated an account of his journeys to a scholar named Ibn Juzayy. • In places the things he claims he saw or did are probably fanciful, but in many others there is no way to know whether he is reporting or story-telling.
The “Journey” • This account, recorded by Ibn Juzayy and interspersed with the Ibn Battuta's own comments, is the primary source of information for his adventures. • The title of this initial manuscript may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling, but is often simply referred to as the Rihla, or "Journey". • Although fictional in places, the Rihla still gives as complete an account as exists of some parts of the world in the 14th century.
Dangers? • Met many dangers and had many adventures along the way • Several times he lost everything to bandits or storms • Almost drowned in a sinking ship • Almost beheaded by a tyrant ruler • Had a few marriages and lovers and fathered several children on his travels
More Popular • For centuries his book was obscure, even within the Muslim world, but in the 1800s it was rediscovered and translated into several European languages. • Since then Ibn Battuta has grown in fame, not only for being an extensive traveler and author but also for aiding in the conversion to Islam of the people along the trade routes that he took.
Death • Ibn Battuta died in Morocco some time between 1368 and 1377 from the same disease that claimed his mother's life, the Black Plague.
Famous? • Ibn Battuta was probably the first person in all of human history to see the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. • Ibn Battuta traveled about three times the distance of Marco Polo. • We don't know what Ibn Battuta looked like, except that he had a beard.