chapter  X
12 Pages

Leo Africanus

ByE. W. Bovill

In Leo's day trade between Barbary and the Sudan was extraordinarily active. Leo complains, however, that the Negroes are 'vtterly vnskilfull in trades of merchandize, being destitute of bankers and money-changers. In common with other authorities Leo is content to indicate only roughly the main caravan routes of the Sudan traders. In 1513, when seventeen years old, he made his memorable journey to Timbuktu and West-Central Africa. If, for the moment, he was deceived by his memory into thinking that he had visited Jenne and Mali after Timbuktu, but recollected never having navigated the Niger against the current he might well have credited the river with a westerly course. In his description of Hausa region, he introduces the kingdom of Wangara which 'adjoineth south-easterly upon Zanfara' and south of which lays a region 'greatly abounding with gold'. The most notable of the markets were Fez, Sijilmasa, Tlemcen, Wargla, and Ghadames, but fully a score are mentioned by Leo.