Leo Africanus

WHS connected with the life of Leo Africanus, an Arab traveller, diplomat and author. Born al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi c1490, he later took the name Joannes Leo Africanus.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Ancient ksours "Leo Africanus who visited the region in 1509-1510 gives a description in his book Descrittione dell'Africa: "Walata Kingdom: This is a small kingdom, and of mediocre condition compared to the other kingdoms of the blacks. In fact, the only inhabited places are three large villages and some huts spread about among the palm groves" Wiki
Granada Born in the city (presumably in the Albaicin). The terms of the Treaty following the Christian conquest allowed the city's Muslim inhabitants to continue their faith. Leo's family left for Fez before the persecutions commenced in 1499.
Medina of Fez Studied at University of Al-Karouine
Rome Was captured by Spanish corsairs whilst on his way to Tunis. Was taken to Rome and imprisoned in Castel Sant'Angelo. Was freed and presented to Leo X who saw him as a useful source of information in thre struggle against the Turks. After travelling around Italy returned to Rome and, around 1526, dictated in arabic the "Descrittione dell? Africa" (published in Venice 1550) the first detailed descriptions published in Europe of the barbary Coast (modern Morocco, Algeria, .and Tunisia) and the gold-trading kingdoms of west-central Africa. Left the city after its Sack in 1527 and returned to N Africa -proably dieing in Tunis in 1554 having reconverted
Timbuktu Probably visited by him around 1510. His description of it in the Descrittione was one of the sources for the fabled vision of the city which Europeans had, and led to their attempts to reach it in the 18th/19th centuries
Vatican City Was baptised in Basilica of St Peters in 1520 taking the name Leo


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