Engraving of the medieval Arab traveler Ibn Battuta.

Ibn Battuta

(1304 - c. 1369)

Born in Morocco in 1304, Ibn Battuta, whose name may translate to Son of a Duck, Egg-shaped Bottle, or Bad Woman with Ellipsoidal Body, departed on the hajj in 1325; he returned to his native country to settle in 1354. In the intervening decades, he traveled around 73,000 miles, visiting Constantinople with a Turkish princess, venturing as far south as present-day Tanzania, living for eight years in India, and traversing the Strait of Gibraltar to reach the Muslim kingdom of Granada. A Moroccan sultan commissioned a scholar to take down Ibn Battuta’s travel notes; the men collaborated on the work for two years.

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