First substantial English translation of Ibn Batuta's travels through the Islamic world and beyond

Ibn Batuta & Samuel Lee (editor). The Travels of Ibn Batuta. Translated from the abridged Arabic manuscript copies, preserved in the public library of Cambridge. With notes, illustrative of the history, geography, botany, antiquities, &c. occurring throughout the work. (Including:) Report of the proceedings of the first general meeting of the subscribers to the Oriental translation fund, with the prospectus, report of the committee and regulations.

London, printed for the Oriental Translation Committee (colophon: by J. L. Cox) and sold by J. Murray, Parbury, Allen & Co. and Howel & Stewart, 1829.

Large 4to (32 x 26). "XVIII" [= XX], (2), 243, (1) pp. With various passages including the original Arabic text. Also with a subscription leaf for the Marquess of Lansdowne ("this copy was printed for the most noble the Marquess of Lansdowne"), printed in black and blue, with wood-engraved illustration, in a cast floral border printed in red. Later half calf. Top edge gilt.


First edition of the first substantial English translation of the travel account of Abu Abdullah Mohammed ibn Batuta (1304-68/69), known in the West as the Arabian Marco Polo, with extensive footnotes. "While on a pilgrimage to Mecca he made a decision to extend his travels throughout the whole of the Islamic world. Possibly the most remarkable of the Arab travellers, he is estimated to have covered 75,000 miles in forty years" (Howgego). His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa and Eastern Europe in the West, and to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China.

The account, known as the Rihla, is esteemed for its lively descriptions of his travels, giving notable information on the history, geography and botany of the countries and cities Ibn Batuta visited. He describes, for example, the city of Aden as follows: "From this place I went to the city of Aden, which is situated on the sea-shore. This is a large city, but without either seed, water, or tree. They have, however, reservoirs, in which they collect the rain-water for drinking. Some rich merchants reside here: and vessels from India occasionally arrive here. The inhabitants are modest and religious" (p. 55).

Endpapers, half-title and subscription leaf foxed, some spots on the title-page, otherwise a very good copy, only slightly trimmed leaving generous margins. Binding very good as well.


Howgego, to 1800, B47.

Stock Code: BN#45895 Tags: , ,