Timbuktu’s location at the meeting point of desert and water made it an ideal trading centre. The city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. A caretaker praying over a tomb that was damaged by Islamic militants in 2012, Timbuktu, Mali. The city became part of the Mali Empire in the 14th century thanks to its trade in ivory, gold and salt. After it was captured by Morocco in 1591, the city declined. The city attracted many people from across Africa and the Arab world who were both scholars and merchants. Timbuktu and the Mali Empire in general received international attention in the Middle Ages thanks to descriptions in the works of Muslim travellers. 7 Answers. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Today it is a city in the country of Mali . It is located on the southern edge of the Sahara, about 8 miles (13 km) north of the Niger River. Location and Values: Timbuktu is one of those iconic places in Africa, which has come to symbolise remoteness – the back of beyond. Timbuktu is an old city of great significance, whose name is the most recognizable in the history of Africa. Mansa Musa was the leader of Mali a West African empire which became the largest and richest empire in Africa under Mansa Musa. Its scholars were ordered arrested in 1593 on suspicion of disaffection; some were killed during a resulting struggle, while others were exiled to Morocco. It was a trading center for several ancient empires. Leading me into a small room in his modest house, the man lifted the lid on an old trunk filled with manuscripts. During the 14th century, the legend of Timbuktu as a rich cultural center spread through the world. Its location was at a major crossroads of the Sahara Desert. Why is Timbuktu important? Reply. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. With its population of merchants, scholars, barbers, an interaction between Arabs and Jews with the Fulani people from the surrounding countryside, Timbuktu was known throughout Africa and its fame extended to Europe and Asia and globally. French colonization at the close of the 19th century dealt another serious blow to the former glories of Timbuktu. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Timbuktu, Mali, designated a World Heritage site in 1988. Located at the gateway and within confines of the fertile zone of the Sudan and in an exceptionally propitious site six miles from Niger River, Timbuktu is an old city of great significance, whose name is the most recognizable in the history of Africa. Timbuktu was so important because it was considered a hub for Islamic learning and trading. Timbuktu sits about 12 miles north of the River Niger and as of 2014 is a very … Inscribed: 1988. Timbuktu was not only a commercial centre, but also of great importance for Islam and science, housing a famous university and several medressas. Timbuktu Manuscripts (or Tombouctou Manuscripts) is a blanket term for the large number of historically important manuscripts that have been preserved for centuries in private households in Timbuktu, Mali. With a huge enrollment Timbuktu had become the headquarters of Islamic intellectual development in Africa. It is also considered an important city for the spread of Islam in Africa, due to the efforts of the prestigious Koranic University of Sankore. The city welcomed everyone which contributed to its economic growth. Timbuktu was important as a crossing place for major camel caravan routes and as a salt distribution centre. Timbuktu was important to Songai for it's location between the salt mines in Northern Africa, and Gold Fields in the south. Timbuktu was so important because it was considered a hub for Islamic learning and trading. It is also considered an important city for the spread of Islam in Africa, due to the efforts of the prestigious Koranic University of Sankore. Caravans hauled salt from the mines to trade for gold. When someone mentions Timbuktu, we immediately envision an ancient, far away, distant place in the deserts of Africa. Why was Timbuktu an important location in Mali's empire?a. Timbuktu is now an administrative centre of Mali. Timbuktu - Mali. Answer Save. Timbuktu was located near several salt mines in the Sahara Desert. Anonymous. There are three great mosques: Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahya.They are reminders of Timbuktu's golden age. According to one tradition, Timbuktu was named for an old woman left to oversee the camp while the Tuareg roamed the Sahara. Why was Timbuktu Important? In 2012, in response to armed conflict in the region, Timbuktu was added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. The city was well know with great Arab immigrants including the renowned architect, Ishaq El Teudjin, who built its legendary mosque, Djinguereber, to serve as a Friday prayer temple for thousands of inhabitants. (2009) 54,453. Corrections? For centuries, white travelers have sought, expect to see a city of pure gold. By the third one, my eyes were popping out of my head…. timbucktu is place where there was a lot of trade.also because it helped with trade and import. By early 14th Century, Timbuktu was a veritable melting pot of knowledge and commerce to many African traders. After a shift in trading routes, the town flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves from several towns and states such as Begho of Bonoman, Sijilmassa, and other Saharan cities. A melting pot for knowledge and commercial hub with rich African heritage. Her name (variously given as Tomboutou, Timbuktu, or Buctoo) meant “mother with a large navel,” possibly describing an umbilical hernia or other such physical malady. It is located on the southern edge of the Sahara, about 8 miles (13 km) north of the Niger River. The Tuareg regained control of the city in 1433, but they ruled from the desert. Timbuktu, French Tombouctou, city in the western African country of Mali, historically important as a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route and as a centre of Islamic culture ( c. 1400–1600). Perhaps worse still, the small Moroccan garrisons placed in command of the city offered inadequate protection, and Timbuktu was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the Bambara, Fulani, and Tuareg. Website Category: Fortified Towns of the Trans-Sahara Trading Route. The city was important for thinking and for religion in the 15th and 16th centuries. Discoverers of the 19th century were disappointed – the … It was the capital of Ghana.b. The region was visited and described by the famed explorer from Tangiers Ibn Battuta (1304 - c. 1369 CE), who travelled throughout West Africa amongst many other places in the world. Why Timbuktu To revive an islamic educational tradition, and produce the most thorough scholars of our time! The city’s importance and prestige waned and scholars drifted elsewhere. Work to repair the damage began after the militants were routed from the town in early 2013. However, the Tuareg rebels were soon supplanted by the Islamic militants, who then imposed their strict version of Sharīʾah (Islamic law) on the inhabitants. The collections include manuscripts about art, medicine, philosophy, and science, as well as copies of the Quran. Three of western Africa’s oldest mosques—Djinguereber (Djingareyber), Sankore, and Sidi Yahia—were built there during the 14th and early 15th centuries. It was also considered a vitally important city for the spread of Islam in Africa, due to the efforts of the University of Sankore. Criteria: (ii) interchange of values (iv) icon of an era (v) interaction with the environment. Caillié, who had studied Islam and learned Arabic, reached Timbuktu disguised as an Arab. Inside the illegal trade in West Africa’s cultural heritage, Why some young Nigerians are using cannabis as a normal part of life, Video vixens and cash: how Nigerian hip hop music objectifies women, African Crossroads December gathering program highlights, Morocco football federation helps clubs with training centres. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It controlled the gold and salt trade.d. Timbuktu, French Tombouctou, city in the western African country of Mali, historically important as a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route and as a centre of Islamic culture (c. 1400–1600). From the 11th century and onward, Timbuktu became an important port where goods from West Africa and North Africa were traded. The unique combination of scholarship and business were the cornerstone that made Timbuktu a city of wealth and a booming commercial destination in the Saharan desert, where salt, gold, and books were the main commodities traded. It was the earliest city founded in West Africa. Timbuktu was a thriving centre of scholarship instrumental to the spread of Islam in Africa. Merchants from Ghudāmis (Ghadamis; now in Libya), Augila (now Awjidah, Libya), and numerous other cities of North Africa gathered there to buy gold and slaves in exchange for the Saharan salt of Taghaza and for North African cloth and horses. The prosperity of the city attracted African … It was an important centre of Islamic learning and a major trade centre at … Sankore University and other madrasas are in the city. Area: unknown . As early as the 15th century, Timbuktu was a hub of intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre of the propagation of Islam throughout Africa. This made the city flourish given its strategic position in the North and West of Africa. I was in Timbuktu, and a young man who knew my interest in African history invited me to see the family library. European explorers reached Timbuktu in the early 19th century. The Islamic militants—in particular, one group known as Ansar Dine—deemed many of Timbuktu’s historic religious monuments and artifacts to be idolatrous, and, to that end, they damaged or destroyed many of them, including tombs of Islamic saints housed at the Djinguereber and Sidi Yahia mosques. Timbuktu was considered a very important place due to its geographic position in West Africa as a major economic city during the 15th and 16th centuries. It is also a historical site that is in great danger, as radical Islamists, known as Ansar Dine, have taken over the small city in Mali, threatening destruction to monuments, religious sites, and priceless documents. After an extravagant pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, the Mali emperor Mansa Mūsā built the Great Mosque (Djinguereber) and a royal residence, the Madugu (the former has since been rebuilt many times, and of the latter no trace remains). They partly restored the city from the desolate condition in which they found it, but no connecting railway or hard-surfaced road was built. It had a population of 54,453 in the 2009 census. By the 14th century it was a flourishing centre for the trans-Saharan gold and salt trade, and it grew as a centre of Islamic culture. Timbuktu was an important city in West Africa because it was a major trading city for Africa and the trade network. Timbuktu (French: Tombouctou; Tuareg ⵜⵏⴱⵈⵜ Tin Buqt; Koyra Chiini: Tumbutu) is a city in Mali, situated 20 km (12 mi) north of the Niger River. I’d … The importance of Timbuktu to African heritage is priceless due to its historic position in West Africa as a major economic city during the 15th and 16th centuries. Updates? Recognising its significance as a site of African architecture and of its scholarly past, UNESCO declared Timbuktu a World Heritage Site in 1990. The ill-fated Scottish explorer Gordon Laing was the first to arrive (1826), followed by the French explorer René-Auguste Caillié in 1828. It was also a center of Islamic culture from about 1400 to 1600. Omissions? He is believed to be the grandson of Sundiata, the founder of the dynasty. Timbuktu was at the end of the camel caravan route that linked sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Arabia. By 1450 its population increased to about 100,000. The importance of Timbuktu to African heritage is priceless due to its historic position in West Africa as a major knowledge hub and vibrant economic city during the 15th and 16th centuries. French explorer René-Auguste Caillié's drawing of Timbuktu, Mali, 1830. The Tuaregs claimed the territory, which included Timbuktu, as the independent state of Azawad. In the late 13th or early 14th century it was incorporated into the Mali empire. He was generally ill disposed toward the city’s Muslim scholars, but his successor—the first ruler of the new Askia dynasty, Muḥammad I Askia of Songhai (reigned 1493–1528)—used the scholarly elite as legal and moral counselors. “Timbuktu (…), magnífico poema africano contra el extremismo religioso”. Although the Tuareg exacted sizable tributes and plundered periodically, trade and learning continued to flourish in Timbuktu. The sand swept city of Timbuktu. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Relevance. During the Askia period (1493–1591) Timbuktu was at the height of its commercial and intellectual development. The Legend of Timbuktu Timbuktu was founded by nomads in the 12th century, and it rapidly became a major trading depot for the caravans of the Sahara Desert. Timbuktu became famous in the 15th century because of the booming gold and salt trade in the Sahara region at that time. Why Timbuktu is a World Heritage Site. Read: Mali begins reconstruction Timbuktu tombs. (20 Minutes) Mi compañero Julio Feo Zarandieta explica ayer, en esta publicación, que Timbuktu , película menospreciada en el último Festival de Cannes pero que gana en pertinencia a medida que pasan las semanas y los meses, es la considerada por la crítica francesa como la mejor producción de 2014. Timbuktu, French Tombouctou, city in the western African country of Mali, historically important as a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route and as a centre of Islamic culture (c. 1400–1600). , historical site of 25,000 students the Mediterranean shores and salt were traded in Timbuktu gold! Trade and learning continued to flourish in Timbuktu numbered some 25,000 to one tradition, and a young who., my eyes were popping out of my head… mosque, around which University... 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