Mecca in the Writing of Western Europe

From the late 15th century onwards, changes in Western European thought and culture and the rise of humanism led to a shift in Western Europe’s vision of the rest of the world. Nations such as Britain and France came to regard the Ottoman Empire as one of their greatest rivals. A small number of Western European explorers made the perilous journey to Mecca, motivated by a desire to undermine the Ottoman State, a spirit of adventure and colonial conquest, missionary zeal, a growing fascination with the Islamic world, and genuine curiosity about the mysterious city of Mecca, forbidden to non-Muslims. They employed various means to do this, most notably by claiming to be Muslim converts and disguising themselves in Islamic attire or by adopting a more elaborate disguise as a traveler from a more distant part of the Muslim world.

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My Journey To Makkah

Jules Gervais-Courtellement (d.1931)

Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah

Richard F. Burton (d.1890) London, 1855–1856

The Travels of Barthema to the Arabian Peninsula

Ludovico di Barthema (d. 1517 CE) Utrecht, 1655 CE

Translation of the Holy Qur’an

George Sale (d.1736) C. Ackers for J. Wilcox Press, London, 1734 CE