The Muslim World circa 1317/1900

Islam arose near the centre of the Old World, and this series is intended to illustrate its spread and the connections, linguistic, economic and cultural, between the regions where it prevailed and the further parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. Map 4 on the linguistic divisions is based on map 4 in the First Edition. Map 5 is an attempt to show the main environmental regains and mineral resources of the classical Islamic world. I have only included such features as crude oil, iron etc. in places where they are attested in the Arabic sources, the gold of al-Ḥijāz and the Wādī’l-ʿAllāqī were both worked out before 391/1000 but are included here because they had been significant.

The broad line which shows the limits of the Muslim world must be understood generally as a transitional zone, as should most political boundaries before the time of the final map. The Muslim territories as here recognized usually fall within this category through conquest or political allegiance, but in the case of some regions, such as East Africa, because the influence of Muslim traders was so powerful and pervasive.

Because of the important part played by Muslim countries in the transport of commodities, inventions and ideas between peoples at the extremities of the old continents, special attention is given throughout this series to routes of travel and what moved along them. By the year 1900 (map 14) railways have become more important than roads, especially as instruments of conquest and control.

Kennedy, Hugh. “The Muslim World circa 1317/1900.” Historical Atlas of Islam. Edited by: Hugh Kennedy. Brill Online, 2016. Reference. Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. 01 May 2016 <;

First appeared online: 2011


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