Conflict and intervention in northern Mali has a deep history of Arab and Western racism and self-interest.
At the time of his birth, Leo Africanus was named al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Zayyati. His parents were Arab Muslims from Granada, Spain who migrated to Fez after the Christian Reconquista; that is, after European Christians recaptured much of the Iberian Peninsula from Arab Muslim control. He was born sometime between 1489 and 1493. At the age of seventeen he went on a commercial and diplomatic mission to the land of the Songhay people, in what is today northern Mali. He may or may not have made a second mission a few years later.
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