Ibn Batuta

Ibn Batuta

(ĭ`bən bäto͞o`tä), 1304?–1378?, Muslim traveler, b. Tangier. No other medieval traveler is known to have journeyed so extensively. In 30 years (from c.1325) he made a series of journeys recorded in a dictated account. He traveled overland in North Africa and Syria to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Afterward he visited Arabia, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Asia Minor. He made a journey by way of Samarkand to India, where he resided for almost eight years at the court of the sultan of Delhi, who sent him to China as one of his ambassadors. Ibn Batuta visited the Maldives, the Malabar coast, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Sumatra. He returned c.1350 to Tangier. Later he went to Spain, then to Morocco, and from there he crossed the Sahara to visit Timbuktu and the Niger River. Batuta is still considered a most reliable source for the geography of his period and an authority on the cultural and social history of Islam. For annotated selections from his writings, see Travels of Ibn Battūta (tr. by H. A. R. Gibb, 3 vol., rev. ed. 1958–71).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ibn Batuta


(Ibn Battuta; full name, Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Lavati al-Tanji). Born Feb. 24, 1304, in Tangier; died 1377 in Fez. Arab traveler, wandering merchant.

In 1325, having set out on a hajj from Morocco, Ibn Batuta visited Egypt and Arabia and later Iran, Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor, the Crimea, and the southern regions of Russia, reaching the Volga; he journeyed through Middle Asia and Afghanistan and visited India, where he lived for several years, and then he traveled to Indonesia and China. He returned to Morocco in 1349. He went to Muslim Spain between 1349 and 1352. In 1352–53 he traveled in western and central Sudan. The description of Ibn Batuta’s account of his travels is a valuable historical source. His notes on his visit to the Golden Horde (especially in the Crimea and at the court of the khan Uzbek [Ozbeg]) are of interest for their abundant economic, ethnographic, cultural, and domestic information. He wrote at length of Constantinople, which he visited in the company of Uzbek’s wife, the daughter of a Greek king. Ibn Batuta provided a detailed account of the situation in Iran under the Hulaguids and of his sojourn in India where he held the post of judge at the court of the Delhi sultan Muhammad Tughlak. Ibn Batuta was the first to offer detailed information on the Mali empire and the regions adjacent to it.


Voyages d’lbn Batoutah, vols. 1–4. Arabian text accompanied by a translation by C. Defré’mery and B. R. Sanguinetti. Paris, 1853–58.
The Travels of Ibn Battuta A.D. 1325–1354, vols. 1–2. Edited by H.A.R. Gibb. Cambridge, 1958–62.


Tizengauzen, V. G. Sbornik materialov, otnosiashchikhsia k istorii Zolotoi Ordy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Krachkovskii, I. lu. Izbr. soch., vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957. Pages 416–30.
Die Reise des Arabers Ibn Batuta durch Indien und China (14. Jahrhundert). Hamburg, 1911.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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