Who was ibn Battuta?
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Why did he travel?
It took him about eight or nine months to get to Mecca, and he had many adventures along the way. He got sick, he was attacked by robbers, and he even got married! Because of the dangers, he had to go part of the way by ship from Cairo north to Damascus, and then come back south to Mecca under the protection of the Mamluk army. This gave Ibn Battuta a chance to see Damascus and Jerusalem on his way.
The travels of Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta goes on further
But after he got to Mecca, he decided he liked to travel. He was still young, and he wasn’t in any hurry to go home. So in November, 1326 he left Mecca for the east. He went first to Iraq, where he saw the tomb of ‘Ali and visited Baghdad, recently destroyed by the Mongols.
Then he went on to Iran. After Iran, Ibn Battuta joined another group of people going west on hajj to Mecca, and traveled with them until he got back to Mecca. On the way he was very sick with diarrhea, and so he spent a year resting and studying in Mecca.
He goes to Ethiopia and Tanzania
But in 1328, Ibn Battuta started traveling again. He left Mecca on a ship headed south, down the coast of Arabia this time. He toured Yemen on a rented camel and then a horse, and then crossed over the Red Sea to see East Africa. Then he sailed down the coast of East Africa, seeing the cities of Zeila and Mogadishu in Ethiopia, where people spoke mainly Swahili. Then he went even further south to Kilwa (in modern Tanzania).
From Kilwa he sailed back north and east over to Oman, on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. He saw traders from India, but he decided not to sail to India – yet. Instead, he went back to Mecca again for a rest. He got to Mecca in the winter of 1330.