Moroccan legal scholar Ibn Battuta. Studied Islamic law. 1325, he left Morocco to make a journey to Mecca. Traveled by Ship through the Red Sea and down the east African coast as far south as Kilwa. He returned to Mecca, but moved to India, when he learned that the sultan of Delhi offered rewards of foreign legal scholars. For the next eight years, Ibn Battuta remained in India, serving mostly as a judge in the government of the sultan of Delhi.
1341, he travels again, making his way around southern India, Ceylon, and the Maldrive Islands before continuing to China about 1345.
During his travels Ibn Battuta visited the equivalent of forty four modern countries and logged more than 117,000 km.
The large empires of the Mongols and other nomadic peoples provided a political foundation for that cross cultural interaction. Nomadic peoples provided safe roads for merchants, diplomats, missionaries and other travelers. Maritime technology led to increased traffic in the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.
The diffused technologies and spread religious faiths. They also exchanged diseases that caused deadly epidemics.
Patterns of Long-Distance Trade
Merchants engaged in long-distance trade relied on two principle net works of trade routes. 1) Luxury goods of high value relative to their weight, such as silk textiles, precious stones, often traveled overland on the silk roads. 2) Bulkier commodities such as steel stone and building materials, traveled the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean.
Melaka (in modern Malaysia) Founded in the 1930s, within a few decades Melaka became the principal clearinghouse of trade in the eastern Indian Ocean. The city’s authorities policed the strategic Strait of Melaka and maintained a safe market that welcomed all merchants and levied reasonable fees on goods exchanged there.
Under Mongol rule, merchants traveling the silk roads faced less risk of banditry or political turbulence.
The best known long-distance traveler of Mongol times was the Venetian Marco Polo (1253-1324), with his father and uncle traveled and traded throughout Mongol lands in the late thirteenth century.
Political and Diplomatic Travel
Marco Polo came from a family of merchants. Khubilai Khan and the other Mongol rulers of China did not entirely trust their Chinese subjects and regularly appointed foreigners to