Why did Ibn Battuta omit Ethiopia?

Jul 2017
100
Czech Republic
#1
I've always wondered why Ibn Battuta, during his great journey through world, omitted Ethiopia. He visited many other African states, including Swahili trade cities and Mali and reached so close to Ethiopia Empire as Somalia. however he never put foot in Ethiopian highlands. Ibn Battuta, during his stay in Somalia must heard about nearby an ancient christian kingdom, but for some reasons, omitted it and moved southward. Why?

Religious bias? I don't think so - he visited Buddhist China, Christian Byzantium and Hindu India.
Geographical factors? He passed Sahara to reach Mali, so I don't think that Ethiopian highlands and mountains could fend him off.
 
Aug 2018
32
United States
#2
I've always wondered why Ibn Battuta, during his great journey through world, omitted Ethiopia. He visited many other African states, including Swahili trade cities and Mali and reached so close to Ethiopia Empire as Somalia. however he never put foot in Ethiopian highlands. Ibn Battuta, during his stay in Somalia must heard about nearby an ancient christian kingdom, but for some reasons, omitted it and moved southward. Why?

Religious bias? I don't think so - he visited Buddhist China, Christian Byzantium and Hindu India.
Geographical factors? He passed Sahara to reach Mali, so I don't think that Ethiopian highlands and mountains could fend him off.
My best guess would be geography. Despite the fact that Sahara was a very difficult barrier, it had well-established and thriving traderoutes. The livelihood of whole nations depended on said routes. Just as the Romans had done to visit West Africa, he could have easily hopped aboard one of the many caravans to visit places like the Mali Empire. Ethiopia on the other hand was up in mountains which protected them from invaders for centuries. It's not secret that this had a major role in them being the only Christian state to remain in Africa until the 15th century. I'm sure rugged mountains and a Christian government were the ultimate combination to deter him from further ventures. He was probably more interested in the predominantly Muslim states surrounding Ethiopia anyway. Also if I can remember correctly, the region was in a state of open war among many of its kingdoms during Batuta's time.
 
Last edited:
May 2018
80
On earth.
#4
My best guess would be geography. Despite the fact that Sahara was a very difficult barrier, it had well-established and thriving traderoutes. The livelihood of whole nations depended on said routes. Just as the Romans had done to visit West Africa, he could have easily hopped aboard one of the many caravans to visit places like the Mali Empire. Ethiopia on the other hand was up in mountains which protected them from invaders for centuries. It's not secret that this had a major role in them being the only Christian state to remain in Africa until the 15th century. I'm sure rugged mountains and a Christian government were the ultimate combination to deter him from further ventures. He was probably more interested in the predominantly Muslim states surrounding Ethiopia anyway. Also if I can remember correctly, the region was in a state of open war among many of its kingdoms during Batuta's time.
I disagree with the first point. Geography has not been a blockade for travelers to Ethiopia for centuries. I think it may have been more the last reason you gave.
 

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