Gawgaw (Gao)

Ibn Battuta refers to the city by its old name, Gawgaw, but in modern times, the city is Gao. The city was founded in the 7th century by fisherman [1]. Gao in Mali was once the capital for the Songhai empire. The Songhai empire rose to power in the 14th and 15th centuries but was defeated by […]

Fez (Fes)

Fez is one of Morocco’s oldest cities. The city was one of the centers for Christian, Muslim and Jewish scholars during the 10th and 11th centuries. Fez was the capital of Morocco numerous times, but it was the capital for the last time in 1912. When Ibn Battuta was going back to Morocco, he notes […]


Tangier is situated on the northern most tip of Morocco, and borders the Strait of Gibraltar which looks on to the southern tip of Spain. Tangier has a history of being part of Spain and Portugal and is heavily influenced by these countries, especially due to their close proximity to one another. However, Tangier is […]


There is very little known about the history of Taghaza. It is in the north of modern day Mali. The major reason for the population of Taghaza at the time was the salt mines. Salt was extremely important, especially during the time of Ibn Battuta because it was used for preserving food. Ross Dunn notes that each […]


  Mogadishu was founded in the 10th century by Arabs as a place for trading. The Arabs came often to Mogadishu which spread Islam throughout Somalia. As a result, the majority of the people there now are Muslims. Mogadishu was atrading hub between three major regions of commerce: Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and East […]


For centuries, Cairo had been an important city in the North African and Middle Eastern regions. It was the capital after Saladin helped defeat the crusaders during the third crusade. Starting in 1260, the Mamluks ruled over Egypt and Syria. They defeated the Mongols and kept them from conquering Syria and Egypt. The Mamluks were […]

Alexandria, Egypt

The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great circa 331 BCE. It has a vast history of scholars in the arts and social sciences as well as in math and physical sciences. Anytime a person uses grammar, geography or a Western-style atlas or map, a debt is owed to the city of Alexandria […]


During the 14th century, Tunis was a city that flourished with art, scholars, and religion. There were beautiful mosques in Tunis that were built under the Hafsids, which reigned from 1229 to 1574. The city was one of the largest ports in the Maghrib lands, and during the 14th century it was the most important […]