Sa’id of Mogadishu, Africa’s 1st Ambassador to China.

Image result for Africa’s first ambassador to China in the 14th century!
Photos that proof Africans were in China in the middle ages.

While many people know about Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan scholar who traveled the world before European invasion of the continent, many do not know of his Somali counterpart called Sa’id.

Image result for Ibn Battuta,
Ibn Battuta

Known as Sa’id of Mogadishu, he was born in the city in 1301. At the time, Mogadishu was the capital of the Ajuran Empire, which dominated trade across the Indian Ocean in the Middle Ages. Not only did it boast of a centralized administration but also a strong military strategy that saw them resist the invasion of the Oromo and the Portuguese.

Image result for Sa’id of Mogadishu
(Somali: Saldanadda Muqdisho, Arabic: سلطنة مقديشو‎) (fl. 9th-13th centuries), also known as the Kingdom of Magadazo, was a medieval Somali trading empire centered in southern Somalia.

Little is known about Sa’id’s childhood and pre-teen years. He, however, left Mogadishu as a teen and went to Mecca and Medina where he studied various subjects for the next 28 years. During his time, he became a renowned scholar, gaining audiences of the Amirs of the region. Aside from his scholastic work, Sa’id traveled the world, including visiting Bengal and China. He also went to India, where he stayed in a mosque and met Ibn Battuta.

Sa’id of Mogadishu

Scholars say the two were able to have a conversation, with Sa’id telling Battuta of his travels in China including how the Yuan Dynasty’s political landscape and succession worked. It is said that Sa’id was the first Ambassador for Africa in China and is considered the first African to study Mandarin and to translate works from the language to Somali. He was also accredited with making Somalia the leaders in trade between Africa and Asia. His sojourns to China is not the only recorded trip as China and Africa had trade and diplomatic relations well into the present, and there are photos to prove this. 

A Hospital Room In Foochow (left), Smiling Boy In Tattered Rags (right)…composite of American Red Cross, 1919 [Credit: Library of Congress] & Ragged Kid & Cots, So Village by Sidney D. Gamble, 1917–1919 / Credit: David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Sa’id is said to have died on 1361 or 1365. Learn more from the Home Team History YouTube video below.

Courtesy of:  Face2face Africa and Home Team History on YouTube.

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