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Ibn Khaldun
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    (May 27, 1332-March 17, 1406)
    Born in Tunis, Tunisia
    Philosopher, diplomat, judge, professor, and historian
    Wrote ‘Muqaddimah’ (‘Prologue’) and ‘Kitab al-‘lbar’’ (‘Book of Lessons’)
    His full name was the unwieldy Abdurahman bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Al-Hasan bin Jabir bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Abdurahman bin Ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami.
    He spent 22 months in prison for conspiring against the ruling sultan (1357-58).
    He wrote, ‘The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage.’
    One historian said about his multi-volume history, ‘Kitab al-‘lbar,’ ‘The general consensus is that it’s a great disappointment…. Generally, it’s really boring.’
    When he was 17, both his parents died in the Black Death epidemic.
    His wife and children drowned when their ship sank off the coast of Alexandria (1384).
    He is considered one of the founders of sociology.
    Arnold J. Toynbee called ‘Muqaddimah,’ in which he outlined his philosophy of history, ‘Undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.’
    He wrote that excessive bureaucracy lead societies to decline.
    His writings about taxes (‘In the beginning of the dynasty, great tax revenues were gained from small assessments… At the end of the dynasty, small tax revenues were gained from large assessments.‘) influenced Ronald Reagan’s supply-side economics.

Credit: C. Fishel

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