The African and Middle Eastern World, 600-1500

by Randall L. Pouwels Author

(From Amazon): The history of the African and Middle Eastern world is, to a large extent, the story of a religion-Islam-and how it claimed millions of followers across empires and kingdoms. First proclaimed by the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century, Islam quickly spread, through trade and conquest, from the Arabian Peninsula to vast sections of Asia and Africa and even to parts of Europe. The cast of characters in this story is fascinating: from the Prophet himself to Abu Bakr Muhammad ar-Razi, a Persian physician who compiled a multivolume medical encyclopedia; Mehmed II, an Ottomon sultan who conquered Constantinople and brought the Byzantine Empire to an end; Mansa Musa, a West African emperor who distributed gifts of gold all along the route to Mecca; and Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan Berber whose travels through the Islamic world in the 14th century covered 75,000 miles.The pages of The African and Middle Eastern World tell not only about these figures and many others but also about Islamic principles and laws, the religion's different branches (including the Sunnis and Shiites), and the widely varied geography and cultural practices of this world. Also covered are people like the Shona of Southern Africa, who remained outside of Islam's long reach. Numerous primary sources-including excerpts from an eighth-century biography of Muhammad, "The Tale of King Sinbad and the Falcon" from The Thousand and One Nights, and a story about leadership from the West African oral tradition-further illuminate this history.

Additional Details

Resource Type
Print Status
In Print
Suggested Grades
6th - 9th
Geographical Setting
Historical Setting
600 - 1500
Oxford University Press, USA


  • 1 Camels, Caravans, and the Ka'ba: The Arabian Peninsula Around 600
  • 2 The Messenger of Allah: Muhammad and the Beginning of Islam
  • 3 The Sword of Allah: The Islamic Expansion
  • 4 Managing the Empire: Islam Grows into an Empire of Faith
  • 5 The House of Islam: The First Worldwide Civilization
  • 6 Living by the Rules: Ulama and Philosophers
  • 7 Houses of Wisdom: Islamic Arts and Sciences
  • 8 Now It's Istanbul, Not Constantinople: The Ottoman Empire
  • 9 Where Gold Grows as Carrots Do: Ghana and the African Grasslands
  • 10 Saddlebags Stuffed With Gold" The Empires of Mali and Songhay
  • 11 Onis and Obas: The Forest Kings of West Africa
  • 12 There's Treasure in Those Hills!: Great Zimbabwe and the Shona of Southern Africa
  • 13 The Emperor's Giraffe: East Africa's Swahili Coast

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