Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

Leo Africanus

Traveller and geographer, born in Granada, S Spain. He studied at Fés in Morocco, and travelled in N Africa and Asia Minor on commercial and diplomatic missions. Falling into the hands of Venetian corsairs, he was sent to Pope Leo X in Rome, where he lived for 20 years, and accepted Christianity, but later returned to Africa. He wrote Descrittione dell'Africa (1550, trans A Geographical Historie of Africa), and for some 400 years it was the chief source of information about Islam.

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