From the French Toulouse to the Songhai Gao. A Mediaeval Journey to the Center of Africa (1405–1413) Cover Image

Z francuskiej Tuluzy do songhajskiego Gao. Średniowieczna podróż do środka Czarnego Lądu (1405–1413)
From the French Toulouse to the Songhai Gao. A Mediaeval Journey to the Center of Africa (1405–1413)

Author(s): Łukasz Burkiewicz
Subject(s): History
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: French Toulouse; Songhai Gao; Africa; 1405–1413

Summary/Abstract: After many years of absence, in the year 1413 one of its former inhabitants comes back to Toulouse together with his black-skinned wife, daughter and servants. Having participated in an expedition whose aim was to conquer the Canary Islands, the hero of the present article, Anselm d’Isalguier, had reached the shores of Africa and subsequently travelled to the center of the African continent, where he spent eight years in Gao, the capital of the state of Songhai. It was there that he had met his future wife who belonged to a ducal family; marriage with her ensured to him a comfortable and carefree life. The effect of his stay in Africa was an extraordinary dictionary of Arabic language, of the Saharan Tuaregs and the Negros of Mali, accompanied by translations into French and Latin. Moreover, Anselm d’Isalguier was the author of a paper describing the local religious and political relations and giving an account of his journey. In spite of the fact that he had described his travels and experiences, the account did not exert an influence on the level of knowledge about the African continent and nearly 300 years later, his manuscripts got lost. Nonetheless, this expedition must have been regarded at the time as an extraordinary event, taking into consideration the mediaeval notions of the outside world, and particularly of Africa, which differed so much from reality.

  • Issue Year: 139/2012
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 19-28
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Polish
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