The Adventures Of Ibn Battuta Book Review History Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
The book, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, is a very informative book about the travels of a Muslim lawyer by the name of Ibn Battuta and the towns and cities that he traveled to. The book discusses the many ways that the Muslim world had influenced Ibn Battuta, even in the way that he was raised as a child. It also talks about how the world of the Muslims in the 14th century was a time of great wealth, power and peace. Of course there was fighting going on in the world of Ibn Battuta but nothing that compares to the wars that strike across the old world of the Muslims now a days.
In order to get a complete look at the way the world looked like in the 14th century to Ibn battuta we need to look at the way he was raised as a child in the city of Tangier. Tangier is a city in Morocco and is on the continent of Africa. During the time of Ibn Battuta, it was a major trade route for four worlds. Those four worlds were the African, European, Atlantic and the Mediterranean worlds.
Ibn Battuta was born in 1304, during a time that was having many major changes in the way the world worked. The conquering of the Iberian Peninsula, which was happening at this time in Europe, was one of the few things that the Europeans would do to try and stifle the power of the Muslims and their large domain while in turn gaining power themselves.
The rest of the Muslim world was not suffering as much as Iberian Peninsula was. The continent of Africa was, at that time, filled with educated people. Most of these people were occupying the cities of North Africa. A major contributor to the education of the people was the fact that the cities they occupied were major trade routes into and out of Africa and this led to more money which led to a better education.
The Mamlurks of Ibn Battuta times were in control of one of the stronger armies in the 14th century. They were one of the few countries that were able to beat back the advancement of the Mongol army from Persia several times. The majority of the credit goes to their uses of Calvary in their warfare. This saved them from the same fate that occurred in Baghdad which the Mongol army destroyed in 1258.
Not only were the Mamlurks in control of a strong army but they had a very stable government, the center of which was Cairo. Cairo was in a great position for trading and economical benefits for the Mamlurks. The trade route from the ports of Cairo travel all the way to Europe and parts of Asia by use of the red sea and the Nile. Among the many things that they traded the biggest were spices.
Cairo was one of the largest cities in the 14th century. The estimated amount ranges between 500,000 and 600,000 people. A person such as Ibn Buttuta, who never before was in a city of this size, would find walking through the main plaza “a thoroughly nerve-rendering experience”. This number is about 15 times greater than that of England in Europe. The reason for such a large number is partly due to the fact that it was the capitol of their kingdom and that the majority of the ruling class.
During the time of Ibn Buttuta over 100 years had passed since the birth of the Mongol empire. The Mongol Empire laid waste to many places in Asia and Europe and between the years 1220-1260 laid waste in Persia and Iraq which these countries were still trying to recover from in the 14th century. Historians estimate that between, Khurasan, Iraq, and Azerbaijan, three countries that at one time had a combined population of 2,500,000 dropped to 250,000 due to massive killings and lack of food which led to famines.
The massive fear that spread with the Mongols was not due to an ideology or from a barbaric rampage. The fear was spreading due to the use of military strategies and physiological warfare used to attempt to achieve world domination. This strategy was so effective that some cities were demoralized to the point that they surrendered without a fight.
Hulegu the grandson of the first Mongol ruler, Genghis Khan, wasn’t quite sure how to treat the people of Iraq and Persia in 1256. One of the things that he was going to do was treat the land and the people of the land like permanent enemy territory and putting an extremely high tax on the peasants. The other thing that he was considering was reconstructing the countries so that they could form plants and food to provide the empire with agriculture.
Ghazan, who was the seventh Illkhan (deputy) to the great Kahn, during his life was trying to reform the way that the administrative and fiscal systems were putting heavy taxes onto the peasants of the Persian and Iraqi people. These reforms were meant to try and make the taxes that the peasants had to pay lighter and to stop extortion from the state. Even with these reforms Iraq and Persia still came into the 14th century with the remains of the Mongol invasion.
The land of Anatolia would have provided the average Muslim traveler with severe culture shock. It was so bad that they might mistake the land as a part of tropical Africa. The land of Anatolia was a good geographical barrier for the Christians who resided in Byzantium. This was provided by the Taurus mountain range.
This protection wasn’t forever though. The cavalry of the Seljuk beat the army of Byzantium in 1071. This led way to huge amounts of nomads to go through and spread throughout the land. This land is the land that we now know as Turkey. This transition however did not happen overnight and wasn’t completed until many years after Ibn Buttuta left.
Even though the armies of Byzantium were defeated in 1071, during the 13th century there were still a large Christian population in Anatolia. There was a very slow but steady progression from Christianity to Islam but the Christians continued to survive along the outskirts. Some of these places were the kingdom of little Anatolia, the Empire of Trebizond, and the remains of Byzantium.
The two governments of Byzantium and the Sultanate were at peace with each other. This however was to be short lived after the Mongol invasion of Anatolia in 1243 and again in 1256. In the year 1260 the major towns of Anatolia were controlled by the Mongols. the invading Mongols didn’t wipe out the Sultanate. Instead they used him to pay tribute to the Ilkhanate of Persia. This invasion was done with little threat of violence only one city was destroyed. The invasions of Anatolia caused many changes in the country. These changes were greater in the political and cultural. This was caused by the allowance of a more open migration of Asian nomads.
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