The Life And Travels Of Leo Africanus

The diplomat and traveler now known as Leo Africanus was born Hasan Ibn Muhammad al-Wazan al-Fasi (حسن ابن محمد الوزان الفاسي‎) in the early 1490s in Spanish Grenada; of the exact date we are not certain.  This period was not a favorable one to be an Andalusian Arab in Spain, as the last vestiges of the old caliphate were being pushed off the Iberian peninsula by the nascent Castilian kingdom.  When Granada passed into Christian hands, Leo’s family found it expedient to move to Fez in Morocco, and there he received a good education.

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John Lewis Burckhardt’s Pioneering Explorations And Travels In Arabia

Before Sir Richard Burton, there was John Lewis Burckhardt.  Like many of the great names featured in these pages, he is little known today; but he sacrificed his life in the cause of discovery, and acquired a knowledge of the Arabic language and Islamic customs that has been surpassed by very few–if any–Westerners.  Had he lived longer, his achievements would likely have gotten the recognition that they deserved from posterity.

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