Ibn Batuta, the Arab Marco Polo

Scope of this Pathfinder

Ibn Batuta, the 14th century Moroccan traveler, described much of the known world of the time in his Rihla (Travels). Over the course of thirty years, he traveled 75,000 miles, three times the distance of Marco Polo's better-known journey. He visited forty-four countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Ibn Batuta's writings are still the best source of information on medieval geography and deliver a fascinating perspective on the Haj (the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) as well as the Islamic social and political context of the middle ages. His observations on Africa, India and China during that period have been widely studied.

Students of Arabic at UNC-Chapel Hill who have read an excerpt of Ibn Batuta’s Rihla in their textbook may be interested to learn more about his travels by reading translations of his work in English or French or by tackling a larger portion of the original Arabic work. Also included in this pathfinder are supporting encyclopedia articles, histories and biographies, article indexes, a travelogue inspired by Ibn Batuta’s travels, children’s books about him, and further suggested readings about medieval Islam and other medieval travelers.

Many of the materials listed are available in the UNC library system, either in Davis Library or the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Library. Because of the wealth of Middle Eastern resources available at Duke’s libraries, we have included some duplicate and original material held at Duke’s Perkins and Divinity libraries.

Feluccas on the Nile

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Text and photos © 1994-2003 by Kristen Wilson
Created for INLS 111: Information Resources and Services
School of Information and Library Science
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Please e-mail kristenwilson@unc.edu with any questions or comments
Page created: December 14, 2003 / Last updated: December 15, 2003