Ibn Battuta: Amazing Traveler Global History and Geography I e. Napp

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Ibn Battuta: Amazing Traveler

Global History and Geography I E. Napp

Name: ____________________ Date: _______

Ibn Battuta was born in Tangiers, Morocco. He 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, as all good Muslims want to do. But his traveling went on for about 29 years and he covered about 75,000 miles visiting the equivalent of 44 modern countries which were then mostly under the governments of Muslim leaders of the World of Islam, or "Dar al-Islam".

He met many dangers and had many adventures along the way. He was attacked by bandits, almost drowned in a sinking ship, was almost beheaded by a tyrant ruler, and had a few marriages and lovers and fathered several children on his travels!


  1. Why did Ibn Battuta travel? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. What was “Dar al-Islam”? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Ibn Battuta started his pilgrimage, he wrote:

"My departure from Tangier, my birthplace, took place ... with the object of making the Pilgrimage to the Holy House [at Mecca] and of visiting the tomb of the Prophet [in Medina], God's richest blessing and peace be on him. I set out alone having neither fellow-traveler in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose party I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries. So I braced my resolution to quit all my dear ones, female and male, and forsook my home as birds forsake their nests. My parents being yet in the bonds of life, it weighed sorely upon me to part from them, and both they and I were afflicted with sorrow at this separation."


  1. How did the travels of Ibn Battuta differ from other travelers? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Why was it difficult for Ibn Battuta to begin his journey? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Travel was dangerous by land and by sea. Ibn Battuta traveled overland at first alone riding a donkey. Then for protection he joined a caravan with other pilgrims and traders. Some of them walked, others rode horses, mules, donkeys, or camels. By the time the caravan reached Cairo, Egypt, the caravan was several thousand members.


  1. Why do you think travel was dangerous by land and sea? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. What is a caravan? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Throughout recorded history, the camel has been a helper to the desert dwellers. The camel assisted in providing transportation, shelter, fuel and food. The camel is able to carry loads as heavy as 900 pounds, although normally a camel will only carry a third of that. The camel’s hide provides tents for shelter, and the meat is said to be similar to veal, although a little tougher. The milk is actually more nutritious than cow’s milk, and is used fresh as a drink, as well as being made into cheese. The camel's dung can be used as a fuel with no drying necessary.


  1. Why was the camel an essential animal for human desert travelers? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. How many pounds can a camel carry? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ibn Battuta visited the West African kingdom of Mali. Read the following passage about his recollections of his visit:
“The negroes possess some admirable qualities. They are seldom unjust, and have a greater abhorrence of injustice than any other people. Their sultan shows no mercy to anyone who is guilty of the least act of it. There is complete security in their country. Neither traveller nor inhabitant in it has anything to fear from robbers or men of violence. They do not confiscate the property of any white man who dies in their country, even if it be uncounted wealth. On the contrary, they give it into the charge of some trustworthy person among the whites, until the rightful heir takes possession of it. They are careful to observe the hours of prayer, and assiduous in attending them in congregations, and in bringing up their children to them.

“Another of their good qualities is their habit of wearing clean white garments on Fridays. Even if a man has nothing but an old worn shirt, he washes it and cleans it, and wears it to the Friday service. Yet another is their zeal for learning the Koran by heart. They put their children in chains if they show any backwardness in memorizing it, and they are not set free until they have it by heart. I visited the qadi in his house on the day of the festival. His children were chained up, so I said to him, "Will you not let them loose?" He replied, "I shall not do so until they learn the Koran by heart."


  1. Why did travelers or inhabitants have nothing to fear in the kingdom of Mali? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Why were some children put in chains? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. Do you agree with the inhabitants of Mali concerning the treatment of children? Explain your answer.


In which region of the world are the Nile River, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Sahara Desert located?

1. East Asia
2. Europe
3. Africa
4. South America
One similarity between the Sahara Desert and the rain forests of Africa is that they both

1. contain many of Africa's major cities.

2. act to slow the migration of people.
3. are home to many farmers.
4. encourage the rapid development of trade.

Which statement is most accurate about Africa's geography?

1. Africa has the world's largest reserves of oil.
2. Most of Africa's land is good for farming.
3. Africa is a continent with a variety of physical features.
4. Africa has an irregular coastline with many good harbors.

One similarity between the ancient African kingdoms of Egypt, Ghana, Mali, and Songhai is that all of these kingdoms were located

1. in mountainous terrain.
2. in coastal areas
3. on major trading routes.
4. in rain forest areas.

Which situation best illustrates a traditional practice of women in Masai society?

1. a young woman leaving her village to attend a university in the capital city.
2. an educated woman returning to her village to become leader of her tribe.
3. a young woman marrying and her husband giving cattle to her family as a wedding gift.
4. a young mother discouraging her children from practicing

How did Arabs first spread Islam into Africa?

1. Arabs carried on extensive trade with many early African empires.
2. Arabs converted the leaders of Egypt to their religion.
3. Arabs were ordered into Africa by the Pope.
4. Arabs used paintings of Allah and Mohammad to convert Africans.

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