Both Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta’s travelled to many countries all over the world in between them. Their travels have some similarities and difference. On his part Ibn Battuta’s was born in 1304 at a town known as Tangier in Morocco. He is regarded as the most travelled individual in the medieval period. It took him nearly thirsty years to travel to over fifty states world wide. Ibn Battuta’s has travelled in various continents. He has travelled from Africa to the Spain, then on through central and southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, India, Arabian Peninsula and China, and back across North Africa. What’s more memorable about Ibn Battuta’s, is they how he managed to travel from Africa and then return home after a successful trip.
Travelling has provided Ibn Battuta’s with great experience of many cultures all over the world. The first place he visited was the Dar al-Islam, which was known as the house of Islam. At this region, Ibn Battuta’s analyze religion and politics activities of this region (Gibb, pp. 376-77). Politically, Dar al-Islam was ruled by Muslims. The Islamic rules were used to govern the society. Arabic was the commonly used language for trade. Islamic customs and laws were used when making key decisions that will affect the community. Individual were punished using the Islamic laws.
Spiritual leaders were prohibited from participating in political activities. In order for a spiritual leaders to participate in political activities they were suppose to step down from the religious posts they held. Individuals who were engaged in trade activities were expected to master the Arabic lingua. The experience that Ibn Battuta’s gained from the visit of Dar al-Islam was crucial to his life. Before travelling to this place Ibn Battuta’s was aware of the cultural activities of the Islamic religion. However he learned new things concerning the Islamic law and culture. The experience and knowledge he gained from visiting Dar al-Islam increase his knowhow of Islamic.
The knowledge and experience he gained from the visit of Dar al-Islam helped Ibn Battuta’s diffuse new knowledge on Islamic religion. He learnt from the Islamic laws that tolerance is an important virtue in our societies. He was able to endure hardships with flying colors and adapt well to his new environment. Ibn Battuta’s demonstrated perseverance and daring in overcoming the hardships and hazards of various sorts of weather and all means of transport.
His knowledge enabled him to deal with the natives without any problem. He also acquired good communication skills that enabled him to interact with the Islamic society well. The people of Dar al-Islam were expected to comply with the strict Islamic rules and no person ever complained about them. Hence Ibn Battuta’s learn how to be tolerant to the Islamic laws despite their strictness.
The visit by Ibn Battuta’s to East Africa gave him a different life experience. The lifestyle of East African community was completely different to the Islamic culture. Ibn Battuta’s was used to the arid landscape of North Africa that is full of marginal grazing land and dunes. Consequently, East Africa provided him with a different climatic environment. In order to settle easily, Ibn Battuta’s had to adapt to the cropland and grazing land that was is located near the equator.
Ibn Battuta’s experienced many trade activities in East Africa. The Indian Ocean trade was at its peak. The presence of dhows promoted the Indian Ocean trade; it enabled the transportation of products across the Indiana Ocean. Majority of the products exported from East Africa were raw materials while in return ready made products were exported to Europe (Gibb, p. 374). Slavery was practiced in East Africa when Ibn Battuta’s visited. Slaves were exported to Europe to go and work in foreign plantation.
Commodities such as coconut oil, turtle-shell, gold, spices and ivory were exported to Europe and in return metal tools, wheat, glassware and textiles were brought to East Africa. It is in East Africa that Ibn Battuta’s met with visitors from various originalities such as Indians, Persians, Greeks and Arabs. From the visit of East Africa Ibn Battuta’s was able to learn a lot of new things. Apart from acquiring new skills of trade he was able to learn the Swahili language that is spoken in East Africa particularly in Kenya and Tanzania (Battuta 45). Thus, ravelling helped Ibn Battuta’s learn new things and ideas.
Ibn Battuta’s experienced a new form of governance in East Africa. There was no specific ruling class in East Africa. The ruling class consisted of a mixture of Persian, Arab, African ancestry and Indian whom together controlled commerce and government. From this system of ruling Ibn Battuta’s discovered that different groups can rule a place without fighting each other.
In the article, secret history the author analyzes the Tartar war and Northern religion. Their existed many quarrels and fight in the Turkestan region. The main catalyst of conflict in this region was power. The presence of two strong leaders in the religion was the main cause of wars in that region. On one side there was Kaidu who was the king of Turkestan and on the other side there was the Great Khan. The two leaders were nephew and they tried to outdo each other. However Kaidu was the real problem, since he wanted to expand his territory at the expense of Great Khan territory (Battuta 45). On the other hand the Great Khan was not willing to let the territory he had conquered for many years go.
Marco Polo travelled from Japan to Zanzibar and from Java to Polar Sea. He was an eyewitness individual to all the fights at Turkestan. He had never encounter a fierce war like the one in this region. His case was totally different from Ibn Battuta’s who saw many development activities. Wars were mainly caused by power struggle and politics. All the powerful empire in the Turkestan fought for supremacy in this region. Therefore they fought against each other in a bid of establishing which empire is superior. Other fought to reclaim their land that was taken away by other empires. The empire that defeated others had the privilege of controlling trade activities in the region. Therefore different empires were involved in the battle field in a bid of claiming the rights of controlling trade.
According to Marco Polo, travelling is adventurous but is also dangerous. On many occasion he encountered life threatening scenarios which he had to tackle. He was forced to adapt new survival tactics that will enable him to endure the long journeys. He used the survival tactics of merchant and practical travelers (Marco16). He carried with him adequate food and water and at the same time use safer routes when travelling. He avoided travelling on routes that pose man made and natural obstacles.
Marco Polo sold commodities that were regarded as precious at a profit. Commodities such as gold, spices, gems and fabrics were held in high regards. Marco Polo took advantage of the high demand of these products at some regions to sell to the natives at a profit (Marco19). This is a strategy that Marco Polo did not have, but learned from the practical travelers.
At Tartar, Marco Polo states that the natives depended on market and wild game as the only means of survival. Cloths and spices were sold to merchant from Genoa and Venice (Black Africa, p. 58). Wild animals were tamed through hunting. In Georgia, Marco Polo met with Georgian people who are Christians of the Greek church, good anchors and strong worriers who defends their territory from been invaded by foreign troops.
In conclusion, the two travelers faced almost the same problems that challenge almost all travelers. This problems are hunger, thirsty and been attack on the way. On returning back to their societies they narrated about their travels to the society. This enabled their society to have some knowledge about other societies. It also enabled their societies to share ideas and lifestyles with other societies. They wrote books that were highly appreciated by their societies back at home. Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta’s stories changed the way things were perceived in their societies. Individual started seeing each other as brother. They influence peaceful coexistence in the society by preaching peace. The stories of wars discouraged the society from fighting with each other. Development activities were fundamental to the societies and societies that adopted them became successful.
Abu Abdalla ibn Battuta, Ibn Battuta in Black Africa, 2000
Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo, 1996