Leo Africanus

Joannes Leo Africanus (born al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, Arabic: ; c. 1494 c. 1554) was a Berber Andalusi diplomat and author who is best known for his book Descrittione dellAfrica (Description of Africa) centered on the geography of the Maghreb and Nile Valley. The book was regarded among his scholarly peers in Europe as the most authoritative treatise on the subject until the modern exploration of Africa. For this work, Leo became a household name among European geographers. He converted from Islam to Christianity and changed his name to Johannes Leo de Medicis.


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by Amin Maalouf