Timbuktu…An African Legacy

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The historic city of Timbuktu- currently located in the Republic of Mali at the edge of the Sahara Desert- was founded in the 11th century by the Imagharen Tuareg. The city was named after a woman named Tin Abutut- meaning “lady with the big navel” in Tuareg language. This famous African woman would hold the heavy goods of the Tuareg traveling across the desert. This practice eventually became the start of a warehouse for commercial goods. Timbuktu is located at the exact point where the Niger River flows northward toward the southern corner of the Sahara Desert and, because of this, it naturally became the meeting place of the Songhai, Wangara, Fulani, Tuareg, and Arabs. Gold was imported from the south and salt from the north; goods coming from the Mediterranean and salt were traded for gold. The prosperity of the city attracted many scholars and merchants. The combination of commercial goods and knowledge made Timbuktu a city of “wealth and truth” and therefore a popular desert port.
Learn more here: History of Timbuktu- A Multicultural African Legacy

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