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Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi on the Scholars of Timbuktu  

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi

Born in Timbuktu in 1596, Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi wrote, in Arabic, a chronicle entitled Tarikh al-Sudan (History of the Sudan). The document addresses the political, cultural, and religious ... More

Description of Northern Africa  

‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Bakrī

Al-Bakrī was born in Spain, and it appears that he never left that country. However, he collected information from people he met who had traveled to the Sahara and the Sudan, and he ... More

The Fetha Nagast, Ethiopia  


In the medieval period Ethiopia became a multiethnic, multilingual, and multireligious state in which the kings limited the church’s conversion efforts. Nevertheless, the kings continued to ... More

The Glorious Victories of Amda Seyon, King of Ethiopia  


Amda Seyon was a fourteenth century king of the Solomonid Dynasty, which ruled Ethiopia from 1270 until 1974. The name of the dynasty, Solomonid, derives from the Ethiopian belief that the ... More

The Life of the Sudanese Mahdi  

Ismail ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir

The religiously inspired uprising against the British in Sudan during the 1880s is associated with the figure of the self-styled “Mahdi.” However, the primary motivation of Muhammad Ahmad ... More

On Mali, from the Rihla  

Ibn Battuta

One of the great world travelers of all time, Ibn Battuta was an educated Moroccan who journeyed throughout Africa, the Middle East, Persia, and Asia. In 1354, at age fifty, Ibn Battuta ... More

Python-Shaped Ornamented Rock Found in the Rhino Cave, Botswana  


Archaeologists working in the Tsodilo Hills of Botswana in 2006 may have found the oldest evidence of a form of human ritual behavior. One cavern contains a large rock, roughly 20 feet long ... More