Ibn Hawqal

Born on 920

Died on 990

Muḥammad Abū’l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal;

(محمد أبو القاسم بن حوقل), also known as Abū al-Qāsim b. ʻAlī Ibn Ḥawqal al-Naṣībī, born in Nisibis, Upper Mesopotamia; was a 10th-century Arab Muslim writer, geographer, and chronicler who travelled 943-969 AD. His famous work, written in 977 AD, is called Ṣūrat al-’Arḍ (صورة الارض; “The face of the Earth”). The date of his death, known from his writings, was after 368AH/978AD.

Details known of Ibn Hawqal’s life are extrapolated from his book. He spent the last 30 years of his life traveling to the remote parts of Asia and Africa and writing about what he saw. One journey brought him 20° south of the equator along the East African coast where he discovered large populations in regions the ancient Greek writers had deemed, from logic rather than knowledge, were uninhabitable.