Journeys coming soon
Ibn Battuta (1304-1368), a Moroccan-born Muslim scholar and adventurer, traveled 75,000 miles across Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia, helping spread Islamic culture. For 29 years, he explored these lands (or Dar al-Islam) on foot. He put his stories and observations into a travel book, called a “rihla,” meaning “voyage” in Arabic, which helped shed light on the rich social, cultural, and political history of the Muslim world. In this lesson we focus on Ibn’s last journey, along the West African gold/salt route, down to Mansa Musa’s legendary capital of Timbuktu.
Hatshepsut (1507–1458 BCE), was considered one of Egypt’s strongest pharaohs—man or woman. She brought great wealth to her land, sponsoring trading expeditions and huge building projects and ruling for 22 years. When she died, Egypt would not see as powerful a female ruler for another 1,400 years, when Cleopatra came to the throne. Hatshepsut was often carved or drawn as a man, complete with muscles and a beard, but she always made sure the art included a reference to being a woman, such as “Daughter of Re,” or “His Majesty, Herself.”
Zheng He (pronounced “Jung Ha”) (1371-1443) was an explorer, diplomat, and fleet admiral during China’s early Ming dynasty. In the early 1400s, Zheng led the largest ships in the world on seven voyages of exploration to the lands around the Indian Ocean and as far as Africa, demonstrating Chinese excellence at shipbuilding and navigation. Zheng He’s voyages expanded China’s political influence in the world. He was able to secure and construct diplomatic ties with other nations while developing trade between the east and west.
The Maya (Classic Period: 250-900 CE) have lived in Central America and the Yucatán Peninsula since at least 1800 BCE and flourished in the region for thousands of years. They created great cities like Copán, Tikal, and Palenque, along with thriving agricultural settlements. Adults were farmers, warriors, hunters, builders, teachers and skilled artisans. Maya belief in supernatural forces pervaded life and influenced every aspect of it. The priesthood was an elite group well-versed in complex rituals, astronomical observations, and highly accurate calendars.