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Joannes Leo Africanus, or al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, was a Moorish diplomat and author who is best known for his book Descrittione dell’Africa (Description of Africa) describing the geography of North Africa. Most of what is known about his life is gathered from autobiographical notes in his own work. Leo Africanus was born in Granada in around 1494 but his family moved to Fez soon after his birth. In Fez he studied at the University of Al Karaouine. As a young man he accompanied an uncle on a diplomatic mission to the Maghreb, reaching as far as the city of Timbuktu (c. 1510), then part of the Songhai Empire.

Leo is credited with proposing that the origin of the word "Africa" comes from Greek meaning "without cold or fear."

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Joannes Leo Africanus, or al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, was a Moorish diplomat and author who is best known for his book Descrittione dell’Africa (Description of Africa) describing the geography of North Africa. Most of what is known about his life is gathered from autobiographical notes in his own work. Leo Africanus was born in Granada in around 1494 but his family moved to Fez soon after his birth. In Fez he studied at the University of Al Karaouine. As a young man he accompanied an uncle on a diplomatic mission to the Maghreb, reaching as far as the city of Timbuktu (c. 1510), then part of the Songhai Empire.

Leo is credited with proposing that the origin of the word "Africa" comes from Greek meaning "without cold or fear." More...

 
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