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| coor_type = | subdivision_type = Country| subdivision_name = Mali| subdivision_type1 = Region| subdivision_name1 = Tombouctou Region| subdivision_type2 = Cercle| subdivision_name2 = Timbuktu Cercle| established_title = Settled| established_date = 5th century BC| founder = | named_for = | government_type =| government_footnotes = | leader_title = Mayor| leader_name = Hallé Ousmane| unit_pref = | area_footnotes =| area_magnitude = | area_total_km2 = | area_land_km2 = | area_water_km2 = | area_water_percent =| elevation_footnotes = | elevation_m = 261| elevation_max_m = | elevation_min_m = url= title=Resultats Provisoires RGPH 2009 (Région de Tombouctou) }}| population_total = 54453| population_as_of = 2009| population_density_km2 = auto| population_note =| timezone = | utc_offset = | timezone_DST = | utc_offset_DST =| postal_code_type = | postal_code = | area_code =Köppen climate classification>ClimateDesert climate#Hot desert climates>BWh| website = | footnotes =

}}Timbuktu ({{IPAc-en|ˌ|t|ɪ|m|b|ʌ|k|ˈ|t|uː}}) (; ; Koyra Chiini: Tumbutu) is an ancient city in Mali, situated {{convert|20|km|mi|abbr=on}} north of the Niger River. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. It had a population of 54,453 in the 2009 census.Timbuktu started out as a seasonal settlement and became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory, and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. In the first half of the 15th century, the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhai Empire absorbed the city in 1468. A Moroccan army defeated the Songhai in 1591 and made Timbuktu, rather than Gao, their capital. The invaders established a new ruling class, the Arma, who after 1612 became virtually independent of Morocco. However, the golden age of the city, during which it was a major learning and cultural centre of the Mali Empire, was over, and it entered a long period of decline. Different tribes governed until the French took over in 1893, a situation that lasted until it became part of the current Republic of Mali in 1960. Presently, Timbuktu is impoverished and suffers from desertification.In its Golden Age, the town's numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade: together with the campuses of the Sankore Madrasah, an Islamic university, this established Timbuktu as a scholarly centre in Africa. Several notable historic writers, such as Shabeni and Leo Africanus, have described Timbuktu. These stories fuelled speculation in Europe, where the city's reputation shifted from being extremely rich to being mysterious.


File:Caillie 1830 Timbuktu view.jpg|thumb|Timbuktu looking west, René CailliéRené CailliéFile:Barth 1858 Timbuktu from terrace.jpg|thumb|View of Timbuktu, Heinrich BarthHeinrich BarthOver the centuries, the spelling of Timbuktu has varied a great deal: from Tenbuch on the Catalan Atlas (1375), to traveller Antonio Malfante's Thambet, used in a letter he wrote in 1447 and also adopted by Alvise Cadamosto in his Voyages of Cadamosto, to Heinrich Barth's Timbúktu and Timbu'ktu. French spelling often appears in international reference as "Tombouctou". As well as its spelling, Timbuktu's toponymy is still open to discussion."Timbuktu" – regardless of spelling, has long been used as a metaphor for "out in the middle of nowhere". E.g. "From here to Timbuktu and back."JOURNAL, Pelizzo, Riccardo, Timbuktu: A Lesson in Underdevelopment, Journal of World-Systems Research, 7, 2, 265–283, 2001,weblink 25 March 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 July 2010, 10.5195/JWSR.2001.166, At least four possible origins of the name of Timbuktu have been described:
  • Songhay origin: both Leo Africanus and Heinrich Barth believed the name was derived from two Songhay words: Leo Africanus writes the Kingdom of Tombuto was named after a town of the same name, founded in 1213 or 1214 by Mansa Suleyman.{{sfn|Leo Africanus|1896|p=824 Vol. 3}} The word itself consisted of two parts: tin (wall) and butu (Wall of Butu). Africanus did not explain the meaning of this Butu. Heinrich Barth wrote: "The town was probably so called, because it was built originally in a hollow or cavity in the sand-hills. Tùmbutu means hole or womb in the Songhay language: if it were a Temáshight (Tamashek) word, it would be written Tinbuktu. The name is generally interpreted by Europeans as well of Buktu (also same word in Persian is bâkhtàr باختر = where the sun sets, West), but tin has nothing to do with well."{{sfn|Barth|1857|p=284 footnote Vol. 3}}
  • Berber origin: Malian historian Sekene Cissoko proposes a different etymology: the Tuareg founders of the city gave it a Berber name, a word composed of two parts: tim, the feminine form of In (place of) and bouctou, a small dune. Hence, Timbuktu would mean "place covered by small dunes".Cissoko, S.M (1996). l'Empire Songhai. Paris: L'Harmattan.
  • Abd al-Sadi offers a third explanation in his 17th-century Tarikh al-Sudan: "The Tuareg made it a depot for their belongings and provisions, and it grew into a crossroads for travellers coming and going. Looking after their belongings was a slave woman of theirs called Tinbuktu, which in their language means [the one having a] 'lump'. The blessed spot where she encamped was named after her."{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=29}}
  • The French Orientalist René Basset forwarded another theory: the name derives from the Zenaga root b-k-t, meaning "to be distant" or "hidden", and the feminine possessive particle tin. The meaning "hidden" could point to the city's location in a slight hollow.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=29 note 4}}
The validity of these theories depends on the identity of the original founders of the city: as recently as 2000, archaeological research has not found remains dating from the 11th/12th century within the limits of the modern city given the difficulty of excavating through metres of sand that have buried the remains over the past centuries.{{sfn|Insoll|2002|p=9}}{{sfn|Insoll|2004}} Without consensus, the etymology of Timbuktu remains unclear.


Like other important Medieval West African towns such as Djenné (Jenné-Jeno), Gao, and Dia, Iron Age settlements have been discovered near Timbuktu that predate the traditional foundation date of the town. Although the accumulation of thick layers of sand has thwarted archaeological excavations in the town itself,{{sfn|Insoll|2002}}{{sfn|Insoll|2004}} some of the surrounding landscape is deflating and exposing pottery shards on the surface. A survey of the area by Susan and Roderick McIntosh in 1984 identified several Iron Age sites along the el-Ahmar, an ancient wadi system that passes a few kilometres to the east of the modern town.{{sfn|McIntosh|McIntosh|1986}}An Iron Age tell complex located {{convert|9|km|0|abbr=off}} southeast of the Timbuktu near the Wadi el-Ahmar was excavated between 2008 and 2010 by archaeologists from Yale University and the Mission Culturelle de Tombouctou. The results suggest that the site was first occupied during the 5th century BC, thrived throughout the second half of the 1st millennium AD and eventually collapsed sometime during the late 10th or early 11th century AD.{{sfn|Park|2010}}{{sfn|Park|2011}}


{{Summarize|from|History of Timbuktu|section=y|better=y|date=July 2017}}Timbuktu was a regional trade centre in medieval times, where caravans met to exchange salt from the Sahara Desert for gold, ivory, and slaves from the Sahel, which could be reached via the nearby Niger River. The population (2018 population 32,460) swelled from 10,000 in the 13th century to about 50,000 in the 16th century after the establishment of a major Islamic university (University of Timbuktu), which attracted scholars from throughout the Muslim world. In the 1600s, a combination of a purge by a monarch who accused the scholars of "disloyalty" and a decline in trade caused by increased competition from newly available trans-Atlantic sailing routes caused the city to decline. The first European to reach Timbuktu, Alexander Gordon Laing, did not arrive until 1826, and it was not until the 1890s that Timbuktu was formally incorporated into the French colony of Mali. Today, the city is still inhabited; however, the city is not as geopolitically relevant as it once was.


Timbuktu is located on the southern edge of the Sahara {{convert|15|km|0|abbr=on}} north of the main channel of the River Niger. The town is surrounded by sand dunes and the streets are covered in sand. The port of Kabara is {{convert|8|km|0|abbr=on}} to the south of the town and is connected to an arm of the river by a {{convert|3|km|0|abbr=on}} canal. The canal had become heavily silted but in 2007 it was dredged as part of a Libyan financed project.The annual flood of the Niger River is a result of the heavy rainfall in the headwaters of the Niger and Bani rivers in Guinea and northern Ivory Coast. The rainfall in these areas peaks in August but the flood water takes time to pass down the river system and through the Inner Niger Delta. At Koulikoro, {{convert|60|km|0|abbr=on}} downstream from Bamako, the flood peaks in September,{{citation|title=Composite Runoff Fields V 1.0: Koulikoro |url= | publisher=University of New Hampshire/Global Runoff Data Center | accessdate=30 January 2011}} while in Timbuktu the flood lasts longer and usually reaches a maximum at the end of December.{{citation|title=Composite Runoff Fields V 1.0: Diré | url= | publisher=University of New Hampshire/Global Runoff Data Center | accessdate=30 January 2011}}. Diré is the nearest hydrometric station on the River Niger, {{convert|70|km|0|abbr=on}} upstream of Timbuktu.In the past, the area flooded by the river was more extensive and in years with high rainfall, floodwater would reach the western outskirts of Timbuktu itself.{{sfn |Hacquard|1900| p=12}} A small navigable creek to the west of the town is shown on the maps published by Heinrich Barth in 1857{{sfn |Barth| 1857 | loc=Vol. 3, p. 324}} and Félix Dubois in 1896.{{sfn|Dubois|1896|p=196}} Between 1917 and 1921, during the colonial period, the French used slave labour to dig a narrow canal linking Timbuktu with Kabara.{{citation |last=Jones |first=Jim |year=1999 |title=Rapports Économiques du Cercle de Tombouctou, 1922–1945: Archives Nationales du Mali, Fonds Recents (Series 1Q362) |url= |publisher=West Chester University, Pennsylvania |accessdate=26 March 2011 }} Over the following decades this became silted and filled with sand, but in 2007 as part of the dredging project, the canal was re-excavated so that now when the River Niger floods, Timbuktu is again connected to Kabara.{{citation | title=Développement régional: le fleuve est de rétour à Tombouctou | url= | publisher=Présidence de la République du Mali | date=3 December 2007 | accessdate=19 March 2011 | url-status=dead | archiveurl= | archivedate=1 October 2011 | df=dmy-all }}{{citation | title= Lancement des travaux du Canal de Tombouctou : la mamelle nourricière redonne vie et espoir à la 'Cité mystérieuse' |date=14 August 2006 |url= | publisher=Afribone }} The Malian government has promised to address problems with the design of the canal as it currently lacks footbridges and the steep, unstable banks make access to the water difficult.{{citation |last=Coulibaly |first=Be |date=12 January 2011 |title=Canal de Daye à Tombouctou: la sécurité des riverains |publisher=Primature: République du Mali |accessdate=26 March 2011 |url= |archive-url= |archive-date=24 July 2011 |url-status=dead |df=dmy-all }}Kabara can only function as a port in December to January when the river is in full flood. When the water levels are lower, boats dock at Korioumé which is linked to Timbuktu by {{convert|18|km|0|abbr=on}} of paved road.


Timbuktu features a hot desert climate according to the Köppen Climate Classification. The weather is extremely hot and dry throughout much of the year. The degree of diurnal temperature variation is higher in winter than in summer. Average daily maximum temperatures in the hottest months of the year – April, May and June – exceed {{convert|40|°C|0|abbr=on}}. Lowest temperatures occur during the Northern hemisphere winter – December, January and February. However, average maximum temperatures do not drop below {{convert|30|°C|0|abbr=on}}. These winter months are characterized by a dry, dusty trade wind blowing from the Saharan Tibesti Region southward to the Gulf of Guinea: picking up dust particles on their way, these winds limit visibility in what has been dubbed the 'Harmattan Haze'.JOURNAL, Adefolalu, D.O., On bioclimatological aspects of Harmattan dust haze in Nigeria, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 33, 4, 387–404, 25 December 1984, 10.1007/BF02274004, 1984AMGBB..33..387A, Additionally, when the dust settles in the city, sand builds up and desertification looms.{{Weather box|location = Timbuktu (1950–2000, extremes 1897–present)|metric first = yes|single line = yes|Jan record high C = 41.6|Feb record high C = 43.5|Mar record high C = 46.1|Apr record high C = 48.9|May record high C = 49.0|Jun record high C = 49.0|Jul record high C = 46.0|Aug record high C = 46.5|Sep record high C = 45.0|Oct record high C = 48.0|Nov record high C = 42.5|Dec record high C = 40.0|year record high C = 49.0|Jan high C = 30.0|Feb high C = 33.2|Mar high C = 36.6|Apr high C = 40.0|May high C = 42.2|Jun high C = 41.6|Jul high C = 38.5|Aug high C = 36.5|Sep high C = 38.3|Oct high C = 39.1|Nov high C = 35.2|Dec high C = 30.4|year high C = 36.8|Jan low C = 13.0|Feb low C = 15.2|Mar low C = 18.5|Apr low C = 22.5|May low C = 26.0|Jun low C = 27.3|Jul low C = 25.8|Aug low C = 24.8|Sep low C = 24.8|Oct low C = 22.7|Nov low C = 17.7|Dec low C = 13.5|year low C = 21.0|Jan record low C = 1.7|Feb record low C = 7.5|Mar record low C = 7.0|Apr record low C = 8.0|May record low C = 18.5|Jun record low C = 17.4|Jul record low C = 18.0|Aug record low C = 20.0|Sep record low C = 18.9|Oct record low C = 13.0|Nov record low C = 11.0|Dec record low C = 3.5|year record low C = 1.7|rain colour = green|Jan rain mm = 0.6|Feb rain mm = 0.1|Mar rain mm = 0.1|Apr rain mm = 1.0|May rain mm = 4.0|Jun rain mm = 16.4|Jul rain mm = 53.5|Aug rain mm = 73.6|Sep rain mm = 29.4|Oct rain mm = 3.8|Nov rain mm = 0.1|Dec rain mm = 0.2|year rain mm = 182.8|unit rain days = 0.1 mm|Jan rain days = 0.1|Feb rain days = 0.1|Mar rain days = 0.1|Apr rain days = 0.6|May rain days = 0.9|Jun rain days = 3.2|Jul rain days = 6.6|Aug rain days = 8.1|Sep rain days = 4.7|Oct rain days = 0.8|Nov rain days = 0.0|Dec rain days = 0.1|year rain days = 25.3|Jan sun = 263.9|Feb sun = 249.6|Mar sun = 269.9|Apr sun = 254.6|May sun = 275.3|Jun sun = 234.7|Jul sun = 248.6|Aug sun = 255.3|Sep sun = 248.9|Oct sun = 273.0|Nov sun = 274.0|Dec sun = 258.7|year sun = 3106.5|source 1 = World Meteorological Organization,WEB,weblink accessdate = 14 February 2011, World Meteorological Organization, NOAA (sun 1961–1990)WEB,weblink Tomb (Tombouctou) Climate Normals 1961–1990, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 12 October 2015, |date=August 2010|source 2 = Meteo Climat (record highs and lows)WEB,weblink Station Tombouctou, Meteo Climat, French, 10 June 2016, }}{{Clear}}


Salt trade

(File:Bilma-Salzkarawane1.jpg|thumb|Azalai salt caravan, mid-December 1985.)The wealth and very existence of Timbuktu depended on its position as the southern terminus of an important trans-Saharan trade route; nowadays, the only goods that are routinely transported across the desert are slabs of rock salt brought from the Taoudenni mining centre in the central Sahara {{convert|664|km|abbr=on}} north of Timbuktu. Until the second half of the 20th century most of the slabs were transported by large salt caravans or azalai, one leaving Timbuktu in early November and the other in late March.{{sfn|Miner|1953|p=68 n27}}The caravans of several thousand camels took three weeks each way, transporting food to the miners and returning with each camel loaded with four or five {{convert|30|kg|0|abbr=on}} slabs of salt. The salt transport was largely controlled by the desert nomads of the Arabic-speaking Berabich (or Barabish) tribe.{{citation |last=Meunier |first=D. |year=1980 |title=Le commerce du sel de Taoudeni |journal=Journal des Africanistes |volume=50 |issue=2 |pages=133–144 |doi=10.3406/jafr.1980.2010 |language=French }} Although there are no roads, the slabs of salt are now usually transported from Taoudenni by truck.{{citation |last=Harding |first=Andrew |date=3 December 2009 |title=Timbuktu's ancient salt caravans under threat |publisher=BBC News |url= |accessdate=6 March 2011}} From Timbuktu the salt is transported by boat to other towns in Mali.Between the 12th and 14th centuries, Timbuktu's population grew immensely due to an influx of Tuaregs, Fulanis, and Songhais seeking trade, security, or to study. By 1300, the population increased to 10,000 and continued increasing until it reached about 50,000 in the 1500s.BOOK, Maynes, Mary Jo, Waltner, Ann, The Family: A World History, 2012, Oxford University Press, Inc, New York, 9780195338140, 45,


There is insufficient rainfall in the Timbuktu region for purely rain-fed agriculture and crops are therefore irrigated using water from the River Niger. The main agricultural crop is rice. African floating rice (Oryza glaberrima) has traditionally been grown in regions near the river that are inundated during the annual flood. Seed is sown at the beginning of the rainy season (June–July) so that when the flood water arrives plants are already {{convert|30|to|40|cm|0|abbr=on}} in height.{{citation |last1=Thom |first1=Derrick J. |last2=Wells |first2=John C. |year=1987 |title=Farming Systems in the Niger Inland Delta, Mali |journal=Geographical Review |volume=77 |issue=3 |pages=328–342 |jstor=214124 |doi=10.2307/214124}}The plants grow up to {{convert|3|m|ft|spell=in|abbr=off}} in height as the water level rises. The rice is harvested by canoe in December. The procedure is very precarious and the yields are low but the method has the advantage that little capital investment is required. A successful crop depends critically on the amount and timing of the rain in the wet season and the height of the flood. To a limited extent the arrival of the flood water can be controlled by the construction of small mud dikes that become submerged as the water rises.Although floating rice is still cultivated in the Timbuktu Cercle, most of the rice is now grown in three relatively large irrigated areas that lie to the south of the town: Daye (392 ha), Koriomé (550 ha) and Hamadja (623 ha).{{citation | title=Schéma Directeur d'Urbanisme de la Ville de Tombouctou et Environs | year=2006 | url= | publisher=Ministère de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme, République du Mali | place=Bamako, Mali | language=French | url-status=dead | archiveurl= | archivedate=28 April 2011 | df=dmy-all }} Water is pumped from the river using ten large Archimedes' screws which were first installed in the 1990s. The irrigated areas are run as cooperatives with approximately 2,100 families cultivating small plots.{{citation | title=Synthèse des Plan de Securité Alimentaire des Communes du Circle de Tombouctou 2006–2010 | publisher=Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire, République du Mali, USAID-Mali | year=2006 | url= | language=French | access-date=2 May 2011 | archive-url= | archive-date=6 September 2011 | url-status=dead | df=dmy-all }} Nearly all the rice produced is consumed by the families themselves. The yields are still relatively low and the farmers are being encouraged to change their agricultural practices.{{citation |last=Styger |first=Erika |year=2010 |title=Introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to irrigated systems in Gao, Mopti, Timbuktu and to rainfed systems in Sikasso |publisher=USAID, Initiatives Intégrées pour la Croissance Économique au Mali, Abt Associates |place=Bamako, Mali |url= }}


Most tourists visit Timbuktu between November and February when the air temperature is lower. In the 1980s, accommodation for the small number of tourists was provided by two small hotels: Hotel Bouctou and Hotel Azalaï.{{citation |last=Sayah |first=Moulaye |title=Tombouctou : le tourisme en desherence |url= |publisher=L'Essor |date=3 October 2011 |accessdate=28 November 2011 |language=French }} Over the following decades the tourist numbers increased so that by 2006 there were seven small hotels and guest houses. The town benefited by the revenue from the CFA 5000 tourist tax, by the sale of handicrafts and by the employment for the guides.


Starting in 2008 the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb began kidnapping groups of tourists in the Sahel region.{{citation | title=Travelling and living abroad: Sahel | publisher=United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office | url= | accessdate=1 January 2012 }} In January 2009, four tourists were kidnapped near the Mali–Niger border after attending a cultural festival at Anderamboukané.NEWS,weblink Mali says Tuareg rebels abduct group of tourists, 22 January 2009, Reuters, 1 January 2012, One of these tourists was subsequently murdered.{{citation | title=Al-Qaeda 'kills British hostage' | date=3 June 2009 | url= | publisher=BBC News | accessdate=1 January 2012 }} As a result of this and various other incidents a number of states including France,{{citation | title=Mali: Securite | url= | publisher=Ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes | accessdate=28 November 2011 | language=French }} Britain{{citation | publisher=United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office | title=Mali travel advice | url= | archive-url= | url-status=dead | archive-date=4 October 2009 | accessdate=28 November 2011 }} and the US,{{citation | title=Travel Warning US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs: Mali | url= | publisher=US Department of State | date=4 October 2011 | accessdate=28 November 2011 | archive-url= | archive-date=26 November 2011 | url-status=dead | df=dmy-all }} began advising their citizens to avoid travelling far from Bamako. The number of tourists visiting Timbuktu dropped precipitously from around 6000 in 2009 to only 492 in the first four months of 2011.Because of the security concerns, the Malian government moved the 2010 Festival in the Desert from Essakane to the outskirts of Timbuktu.{{citation |last=Togola |first=Diakaridia |title=Festival sur le désert : Essakane a vibré au rythme de la 10ème édition |url= |language=French |publisher=Le Quotidien de Bamako |date=11 January 2010 |accessdate=25 December 2011 |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=15 April 2012 |df=dmy-all }}{{citation | title=Tombouctou: Le Festival du Désert aura bien lieu | publisher=Primature: Portail Officiel du Gouvernement Mali | url= | date=28 October 2010 | accessdate=25 December 2011 | language=French | url-status=dead | archiveurl= | archivedate=24 September 2015 | df=dmy-all }} In November 2011, gunmen attacked tourists staying at a hotel in Timbuktu, killing one of them and kidnapping three others.NEWS, Mali kidnapping: One dead and three seized in Timbuktu,weblink 25 November 2011, BBC News, 28 November 2011, {{citation |last=Sayad |first=Moulaye |title=Tombouctou : Sous le Choc |date=28 November 2011 |publisher=L'Essor |url=weblink |language=French |accessdate=1 January 2012 }} This was the first terrorist incident in Timbuktu itself.On 1 April 2012, one day after the capture of Gao, Timbuktu was captured from the Malian military by the Tuareg rebels of the MNLA and Ansar Dine.{{citation |last=Callimachi |first=Rukmini |url= |title=Mali coup leader reinstates old constitution |date=1 April 2012 |work=The Atlanta Journal-Constitution |agency=Associated Press |accessdate=31 March 2012}} Five days later, the MNLA declared the region independent of Mali as the nation of Azawad.{{citation|url=|agency=Al Arabiya|title=Tuareg rebels declare the independence of Azawad, north of Mali|date=6 April 2012|accessdate=6 April 2012}} The declared political entity was not recognized by any regional nations or the international community and it collapsed three months later on 12 July.{{citation |last=Moseley |first=Walter G. |title=Azawad: the latest African Border Dilemma |url= |publisher=Al Jazeera |date=18 April 2012}}On 28 January 2013, French and Malian government troops began retaking Timbuktu from the Islamist rebels.{{citation |last=Diarra |first=Adam |url= |title=French seal off Mali's Timbuktu, rebels torch library |publisher=Reuters |date=28 January 2013}} The force of 1,000 French troops with 200 Malian soldiers retook Timbuktu without a fight. The Islamist groups had already fled north a few days earlier, having set fire to the Ahmed Baba Institute, which housed many important manuscripts. The building housing the Ahmed Baba Institute was funded by South Africa, and held 30,000 manuscripts. BBC World Service radio news reported on 29 January 2013 that approximately 28,000 of the manuscripts in the Institute had been removed to safety from the premises before the attack by the Islamist groups, and that the whereabouts of about 2,000 manuscripts remained unknown.NEWS, Shamil, Jeppie, Timbuktu Manuscripts Project,weblink 29 January 2013, BBC News, 29 January 2013, Also broadcast BBC World Service news on 29 January 2013. It was intended to be a resource for Islamic research.WEB, Staff,weblink Mali – Islamists Rebels Burn Manuscript Library as They Leave Timbuktu, Reuters (via Africa – News and Analysis), 28 January 2013, 31 January 2013, On 30 March 2013, jihadist rebels infiltrated into Timbuktu nine days before a suicide bombing on a Malian army checkpoint at the international airport killing a soldier. Fighting lasted until 1 April, when French warplanes helped Malian ground forces chase the remaining rebels out of the city center.

Early accounts in the West

Tales of Timbuktu's fabulous wealth helped prompt European exploration of the west coast of Africa. Among the most famous descriptions of Timbuktu are those of Leo Africanus and Shabeni.

Leo Africanus

Perhaps most famous among the accounts written about Timbuktu is that by Leo Africanus. Born El Hasan ben Muhammed el- Wazzan-ez-Zayyati in Granada in 1485, his family was among the thousands of Muslims expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella after their reconquest of Spain in 1492. They settled in Morocco, where he studied in Fes and accompanied his uncle on diplomatic missions throughout North Africa. During these travels, he visited Timbuktu. As a young man he was captured by pirates and presented as an exceptionally learned slave to Pope Leo X, who freed him, baptized him under the name "Johannis Leo de Medici", and commissioned him to write, in Italian, a detailed survey of Africa. His accounts provided most of what Europeans knew about the continent for the next several centuries.{{sfn|Leo Africanus|1896}} Describing Timbuktu when the Songhai Empire was at its height, the English edition of his book includes the description:
|width = 30% |align = right }}
According to Leo Africanus, there were abundant supplies of locally produced corn, cattle, milk and butter, though there were neither gardens nor orchards surrounding the city.BOOK, Brians, Paul, Reading About the World, Harcourt Brace College Publishing, 1998, Fort Worth, TX, USA, vol. II,weblink In another passage dedicated to describing the wealth of both the environment and the king, Africanus touches upon the rarity of one of Timbuktu's trade commodities: salt.
from Timbuktu. I happened to be in this city at a time when a load of salt sold for eighty ducats. The king has a rich treasure of coins and gold ingots. |source = Leo Africanus, Descrittione dell' Africa in Paul Brians' Reading About the World, Volume 2|width = 30% |align = right}}
These descriptions and passages alike caught the attention of European explorers. Africanus also described the more mundane aspects of the city, such as the "cottages built of chalk, and covered with thatch" – although these went largely unheeded.{{sfn|Insoll|2004}}


An Account of Timbuctoo and Hausa, 1820{{sfn|Jackson|1820|p=10}} |width = 30% |align = right }}
Roughly 250 years after Leo Africanus' visit to Timbuktu, the city had seen many rulers. The end of the 18th century saw the grip of the Moroccan rulers on the city wane, resulting in a period of unstable government by quickly changing tribes. During the rule of one of those tribes, the Hausa, a 14-year-old child named Shabeni (or Shabeeny) from Tetuan on the north coast of Morocco accompanied his father on a visit to Timbuktu.{{sfn|Jackson|1820}}Shabeni stayed in Timbuktu for three years before moving to a major city called HousaA paper from 1995 says this was "apparently one of the Maraka towns". A book of letters to Thomas Jefferson mentions in connexion to a letter of 1798 that explorer Mungo Park had tried unsuccessfully to find Housa and Timbuktu (1795–7). In a later expedition he went near Timbuktu while descending the Niger River. After being attacked many times by Africans he drowned in the river. several days' journey to the southeast. Two years later, he returned to Timbuktu to live there for another seven years – one of a population that was, even centuries after its peak and excluding slaves, double the size of the 21st-century town.By the time Shabeni was 27, he was an established merchant in his hometown of Tetuan. He made a two-year pilgrimage to Mecca and thus became a hajji, Asseed El Hage Abd Salam Shabeeny. Returning from a trading voyage to Hamburg, he was captured by a ship manned by Englishmen but sailing under a Russian flag, whose captain claimed that his Imperial mistress (Catherine the Great) was "at war with all Muselmen" (see Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792)). He and the ship he had been sailing in were brought to Ostend in Belgium in December 1789 but the British consul managed to get him and the ship released. He set off again in the same ship, but the captain, who claimed to be afraid of his ship being captured again, set him ashore in Dover. In England his story was recorded. Shabeeni gave an indication of the size of the city in the second half of the 18th century. In an earlier passage, he described an environment that was characterized by forest, as opposed to the modern arid surroundings.

Arts and culture

(File:Timbuktu-139086.jpg|thumb|Reconstruction of the Ben Essayouti Library, Timbuktu)

Cultural events

The most well-known cultural event is the Festival au Désert. When the Tuareg rebellion ended in 1996 under the Konaré administration, 3,000 weapons were burned in a ceremony dubbed the Flame of Peace on 29 March 2007 – to commemorate the ceremony, a monument was built.{{sfn|Jeppie|2008}} The Festival au Désert, to celebrate the peace treaty, was held every January in the desert, 75 km from the city until 2010.BOOK, Reiser, Melissa Diane, Festival au Desert, Essakane, Mali: a postcolonial, postwar Tuareg experiment, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2007, Madison,weblink

World Heritage Site

During its twelfth session, in December 1988, the World Heritage Committee (WHC) selected parts of Timbuktu's historic centre for inscription on its World Heritage list.{{Citation | contribution = Report of the World Heritage Committee Twelfth Session | contribution-url =weblink |title=Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage | series = | year = 1988 | place = Brasilia | publisher=UNESCO | url =weblink }} The selection was based on three criteria:
  • Criterion II: Timbuktu's holy places were vital to early Islamization in Africa.
  • Criterion IV: Timbuktu's mosques show a cultural and scholarly Golden Age during the Songhay Empire.
  • Criterion V: The construction of the mosques, still mostly original, shows the use of traditional building techniques.
An earlier nomination in 1979 failed the following year as it lacked proper demarcation:WEB, ICOMOS, Advisory Body Evaluation of Timbuktu Nomination, UNESCO, 14 May 1979,weblink 22 February 2011, the Malian government included the town of Timbuktu as a whole in the wish for inclusion.WEB, Mali Government, Nomination No. 119, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, UNESCO, 14 May 1979,weblink 22 February 2011, Close to a decade later, three mosques and 16 mausoleums or cemeteries were selected from the Old Town for World Heritage status: with this conclusion came the call for protection of the buildings' conditions, an exclusion of new construction works near the sites and measures against the encroaching sand.Shortly afterwards, the monuments were placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the Malian government, as by the selection committee at the time of nomination. The first period on the Danger List lasted from 1990 until 2005, when a range of measures including restoration work and the compilation of an inventory warranted "its removal from the Danger List".WEB, Amelan, Roni, Three Sites Withdrawn from UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger, World Heritage Convention News & Events, UNESCO, 13 July 2005,weblink 22 February 2011, In 2008 the WHC placed the protected area under increased scrutiny dubbed "reinforced monitoring", a measure made possible in 2007, as the impact of planned construction work was unclear. Special attention was given to the build of a cultural centre.WEB, WHC Requests Close Surveillance of Bordeaux, Machu Picchu, Timbuktu and Samarkand, World Heritage Convention News & Events, UNESCO, 10 July 2008,weblink 22 February 2011, During a session in June 2009, UNESCO decided to cease its increased monitoring program as it felt sufficient progress had been made to address the initial concerns.{{Citation | title = Decision 33COM 7B.45 – Timbuktu (Mali) | series = Final Decisions of the 33rd Session of the WHC | place = Seville | year = 2009 | url=}} Following the takeover of Timbuktu by MNLA and the Islamist group Ansar Dine, it was returned to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012.NEWS, Timbuktu shrines damaged by Mali Ansar Dine Islamists,weblink BBC News, 30 June 2012, 1 July 2012,

Attacks by Muslim fundamentalists

{{Further|Islamist destruction of Timbuktu heritage sites}}In May 2012, Ansar Dine destroyed a shrine in the cityNEWS, Mali Islamist militants 'destroy' Timbuktu saint's tomb,weblink BBC News, 6 May 2012, 1 July 2012, and in June 2012, in the aftermath of the Battle of Gao and Timbuktu, other shrines, including the mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud, were destroyed when attacked with shovels and pickaxes by members of the same group. An Ansar Dine spokesman said that all shrines in the city, including the 13 remaining World Heritage sites, would be destroyed because they consider them to be examples of idolatry, a sin in Islam.Al Jazeera (1 June 2012). Ansar Dine fighters destroy Timbuktu shrines. Retrieved 1 July 2012 These acts have been described as crimes against humanity and war crimes.Guled Yusuf and Lucas Bento, The New York Times (31 July 2012). The 'End Times' for Timbuktu? Retrieved 31 July 2012After the destruction of the tombs, UNESCO created a special fund to safeguard Mali's World Heritage Sites, vowing to carry out reconstruction and rehabilitation projects once the security situation allows.WEB, UNESCO World Heritage Centre,weblink UNESCO World Heritage Centre – Creation of a Special Fund for the Safeguarding of Mali's World Heritage sites,, 2014-05-16,



Centre of learning

File:Timbuktu-manuscripts-astronomy-mathematics.jpg|thumb|250px|The Timbuktu Manuscripts showing both mathematics and a heritage of astronomy in medieval Islamastronomy in medieval IslamTimbuktu was a world centre of Islamic learning from the 13th to the 17th century, especially under the Mali Empire and Askia Mohammad I's rule. The Malian government and NGOs have been working to catalog and restore the remnants of this scholarly legacy: Timbuktu's manuscripts.JOURNAL, Huddleston, Alexandra, Divine Learning: The Traditional Islamic Scholarship of Timbuktu, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Non-Fiction, 11, 2, 129–135, 1 September 2009, 1522-3868, 10.1353/fge.0.0080, Timbuktu's rapid economic growth in the 13th and 14th centuries drew many scholars from nearby Walata (today in Mauretania),{{sfn|Cleaveland|2008}} leading up to the city's golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries that proved fertile ground for scholarship of religions, arts and sciences. To the people of Timbuktu, literacy and books were symbols of wealth, power, and blessings and the acquisition of books became a primary concern for scholars.JOURNAL, Singleton, Brent D., African Bibliophiles: Books and Libraries in Medieval Timbuktu, Libraries & Culture, 2004, 39, 1, 1–12, 25549150, 10.1353/lac.2004.0019,weblink An active trade in books between Timbuktu and other parts of the Islamic world and emperor Askia Mohammed's strong support led to the writing of thousands of manuscripts.BOOK, African Cultural Astronomy, Medupe, Rodney Thebe, Warner, Brian, Jeppie, Shamil, Sanogo, Salikou, Maiga, Mohammed, Maiga, Ahmed, Dembele, Mamadou, Diakite, Drissa, Tembely, Laya, 2008, 9781402066399, Holbrook, Jarita, Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, p. 179, The Timbuktu Astronomy Project, 10.1007/978-1-4020-6639-9_13, Medupe, R. Thebe, Urama, Johnson O., Kanoute, Mamadou, Traore, Sibiri, Sodio, Bernard, Hawkes, Sharron, Knowledge was gathered in a manner similar to the early, informal European Medieval university model.{{sfn|Cleaveland|2008}} Lecturing was presented through a range of informal institutions called madrasahs.{{citation |last=Makdisi |first=George |title=Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West |journal=Journal of the American Oriental Society |volume=109 |issue=2 |date=April–June 1989 |pages=175–182 [176] |doi=10.2307/604423 |jstor=604423 }} Nowadays known as the University of Timbuktu, three madrasahs facilitated 25,000 students: Djinguereber, Sidi Yahya and Sankore.University of Timbuktu, Mali {{webarchive|url= |date=24 September 2012 }} – Timbuktu Educational FoundationThese institutions were explicitly religious, as opposed to the more secular curricula of modern European universities and more similar to the medieval Europe model. However, where universities in the European sense started as associations of students and teachers, West-African education was patronized by families or lineages, with the Aqit and Bunu al-Qadi al-Hajj families being two of the most prominent in Timbuktu – these families also facilitated students is set-aside rooms in their housings.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|pp=lvii}} Although the basis of Islamic law and its teaching were brought to Timbuktu from North Africa with the spread of Islam, Western African scholarship developed: Ahmad Baba al Massufi is regarded as the city's greatest scholar.NEWS, Lydia, Polgreen, Timbuktu Hopes Ancient Texts Spark a Revival,weblink The New York Times, 7 August 2007, 4 March 2011, Timbuktu served in this process as a distribution centre of scholars and scholarship. Its reliance on trade meant intensive movement of scholars between the city and its extensive network of trade partners. In 1468–1469 though, many scholars left for Walata when Sunni Ali's Songhay Empire absorbed Timbuktu and again in 1591 with the Moroccan occupation.{{sfn|Cleaveland|2008}}This system of education survived until the late 19th century, while the 18th century saw the institution of itinerant Quranic school as a form of universal education, where scholars would travel throughout the region with their students, begging for food part of the day.Islamic education came under pressure after the French occupation, droughts in the 70s and 80s and by Mali's civil war in the early 90s.

Manuscripts and libraries

File:kuntamarabut.jpg|thumb|right|180px|Moorish marabout of the Kuntua tribe, an ethnic KountaKountaHundreds of thousands of manuscripts were collected in Timbuktu over the course of centuries: some were written in the town itself, others – including exclusive copies of the Quran for wealthy families – imported through the lively booktrade.Hidden in cellars or buried, hid between the mosque's mud walls and safeguarded by their patrons, many of these manuscripts survived the city's decline. They now form the collection of several libraries in Timbuktu, holding up to 700,000 manuscripts:WEB, Rainier, Chris, Reclaiming the Ancient Manuscripts of Timbuktu, National Geographic News, 27 May 2003,weblink 13 July 2010, In late January 2013 it was reported that rebel forces destroyed many of the manuscripts before leaving the city.{{citation |last=Harding |first=Luke |date=28 January 2013 |title=Timbuktu mayor: Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts |url= |publisher=The Guardian |accessdate=27 February 2013 |location=London}}{{citation |last=Diarra |first=Adama |date=28 January 2013 |title=French, Malians retake Timbuktu, rebels torch library |url= |publisher=Reuters |accessdate=27 February 2013}} However, there was no malicious destruction of any library or collection as most of the manuscripts were safely hidden away.{{citation | title=Timbuktu update | date= 30 January 2013| url=| publisher=Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, University of Cape Town | accessdate=27 February 2013 }}{{citation |last=Zanganeh |first=Lila Azam |date=29 January 2013 |title=Has the great library of Timbuktu been lost? |url= |publisher=The New Yorker |accessdate=27 February 2013 }}{{citation |last=Hinshaw |first=Drew |date=1 February 2013 |title=Historic Timbuktu Texts Saved From Burning |url= |publisher=The Wall Street Journal |accessdate=27 February 2013}} One librarian in particular, Abdel Kader Haidara, organized to have 350,000 medieval manuscripts smuggled out of Timbuktu for safekeeping.WEB, Timbuktu's 'Badass Librarians': Checking Out Books Under Al-Qaida's Nose,weblink, en, Hammer, J. (2016) "The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu." Simon and Schuster. (File:Timbuktu-139085.jpg|thumb|Manuscripts of the Ahmed Baba Centre)These libraries are the largest among up to 60 private or public libraries that are estimated to exist in Timbuktu today, although some comprise little more than a row of books on a shelf or a bookchest.{{Citation |last=Grant |first=Simon |title=Beyond the Saharan Fringe |work=The Guardian |date=8 February 2007 |url= |accessdate=19 July 2010 |location=London}} Under these circumstances, the manuscripts are vulnerable to damage and theft, as well as long term climate damage, despite Timbuktu's arid climate. Two Timbuktu Manuscripts Projects funded by independent universities have aimed to preserve them.During the occupation by Islamic extremists the citizens of the city embarked on a drive to save the "best written accounts of African History." Interviewed by the Times the local residents claimed to have safeguarded the three hundred thousand manuscripts for generations. Many of these documents are still in the safe keeping of the local residents who are reluctant to give them overs to the government-run Ahmed Baba Institute housed in a modern digitalization building built by the South African government in 2009. The institute houses only 10% of the manuscriptsNEWS,weblink Timbuktu's Ancient Libraries: Saved by Locals, Endangered by a Government, Walt, Vivienne, Time, 2018-04-23, en-US, 0040-781X, It was later confirmed by Jean-Michel Djian to the New Yorker that "the great majority of the manuscripts, about fifty thousand, are actually housed in the thirty-two family libraries of the 'City of 333 Saints{{'"}}. He added, "Those are to this day protected." He also added that due to the massive efforts of one individual two hundred thousand other manuscripts were successfully transported to safetyNEWS,weblink Has the Great Library of Timbuktu Been Lost?, Zanganeh, Lila Azam, 2013-01-29, The New Yorker, 2018-04-23, en, 0028-792X,


Although French is Mali's official language, today the large majority of Timbuktu's inhabitants speaks Koyra Chiini, a Songhay language that also functions as the lingua franca. Before the 1990–1994 Tuareg rebellion, both Hassaniya Arabic and Tamashek were represented by 10% each to an 80% dominance of the Koyra Chiini language. With Tamashek spoken by both Ikelan and ethnic Tuaregs, its use declined with the expulsion of many Tuaregs following the rebellion, increasing the dominance of Koyra Chiini.{{sfn|Heath|1999|pp=4–5}}Arabic, introduced together with Islam during the 11th century, has mainly been the language of scholars and religion, comparable to Latin in Western Christianity.NEWS, Forma, Aminatta, The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu, The Sunday Times, London, UK, 7 February 2009,weblink 15 February 2011, Although Bambara is spoken by the most numerous ethnic group in Mali, the Bambara people, it is mainly confined to the south of the country. With an improving infrastructure granting Timbuktu access to larger cities in Mali's South, use of Bambara was increasing in the city at least until Azawad independence.{{sfn|Heath|1999|pp=4–5}}


With no railroads in Mali except for the Dakar-Niger Railway up to Koulikoro, access to Timbuktu is by road, boat or, since 1961, aircraft.{{citation |last=Rosberg |first=Carl Gustav |title=Political Parties and National Integration in Tropical Africa |publisher=University of California Press |year=1964 |location=Berkeley, CA |page=222 |url= |isbn=9780520002531 }} With high water levels in the Niger from August to December, Compagnie Malienne de Navigation (COMANAV) passenger ferries operate a leg between Koulikoro and downstream Gao on a roughly weekly basis. Also requiring high water are pinasses (large motorized pirogues), either chartered or public, that travel up and down the river.BOOK, Pitcher, Gemma, Africa, Lonely Planet Guides, 2007, Melbourne, 403–418,weblink 9781741044829, Both ferries and pinasses arrive at Korioumé, Timbuktu's port, which is linked to the city centre by an {{convert|18|km|mi|abbr=on}} paved road running through Kabara. In 2007, access to Timbuktu's traditional port, Kabara, was restored by a Libyan funded project that dredged the {{convert|3|km|0|abbr=on}} silted canal connecting Kabara to an arm of the Niger River. COMANAV ferries and pinassses are now able to reach the port when the river is in full flood.{{citation | title= Lancement des travaux du Canal de Tombouctou : la mamelle nourricière redonne vie et espoir à la 'Cité mystérieuse' |date=14 August 2006 | url= | publisher=Afribone }}Timbuktu is poorly connected to the Malian road network with only dirt roads to the neighbouring towns. Although the Niger River can be crossed by ferry at Korioumé, the roads south of the river are no better. However, a new paved road is under construction between Niono and Timbuktu running to the north of the Inland Niger Delta. The {{convert|565|km|0|abbr=on}} road will pass through Nampala, Léré, Niafunké, Tonka, Diré and Goundam.{{citation |last=Coulibaly |first=Baye |title=Route Tombouctou-Goma Coura: un nouveau chantier titanesque est ouvert |publisher=L'Essor |url= |date=24 November 2010 |accessdate=19 March 2011 }}{{citation |last=Coulibaly |first=Baye |title=Route Tombouctou-Goma Coura: le chantier advance à grand pas |publisher=L'Essor |url= |date=19 January 2012 |accessdate=1 May 2012 }} The completed {{convert|81|km|0|abbr=on}} section between Niono and the small village of Goma Coura was financed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.{{citation | title=Niono-Goma Coura Road Inauguration | publisher=Embassy of the United States, Mali | url= | accessdate=19 March 2011 | date=7 February 2009 | url-status=dead | archiveurl= | archivedate=14 May 2011 | df=dmy-all }} This new section will service the Alatona irrigation system development of the Office du Niger.{{citation |title=Mali Compact |publisher=Millennium Challenge Corporation |url= |date=17 November 2006 |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=25 March 2012 |df=dmy-all }} The {{convert|484|km|0|abbr=on}} section between Goma Coura and Timbuktu is being financed by the European Development Fund.Timbuktu Airport is served by Air Mali, hosting flights to and from Bamako, Gao and Mopti. Its 6,923 ft (2,110 m) runway in a 07/25 runway orientation is both lighted and paved.{{citation | title = Pilot Information for Timbuktu Airport | publisher=Megginson Technologies | year = 2010 | url =weblink | accessdate =18 February 2011}}

In popular culture

In the imagination of Europeans and North Americans, Timbuktu is a place that bears with it a sense of mystery: a 2006 survey of 150 young Britons found 34% did not believe the town existed, while the other 66% considered it "a mythical place".{{citation | title = Search on for Timbuktu's twin | publisher =BBC News | date = 18 October 2006 | url =weblink | accessdate =22 November 2010}} This sense has been acknowledged in literature describing African history and African-European relations. Timbuktu is also often considered a far away place, in popular western culture.{{sfn|Saad|1983}}BOOK, Barrows, David Prescott, Berbers and Blacks: Impressions of Morocco, Timbuktu and the Western Sudan, Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish, Montana, 1927, 10, The origin of this mystification lies in the excitement brought to Europe by the legendary tales, especially those by Leo Africanus: Arabic sources focused mainly on more affluent cities in the Timbuktu region, such as Gao and Walata.{{sfn|Insoll|2004}} In West Africa the city holds an image that has been compared to Europe's view on Athens.{{sfn|Saad|1983}} As such, the picture of the city as the epitome of distance and mystery is a European one.Down-to-earth-aspects in Africanus' descriptions were largely ignored and stories of great riches served as a catalyst for travellers to visit the inaccessible city – with prominent French explorer René Caillié characterising Timbuktu as "a mass of ill-looking houses built of earth".{{sfn|Caillié|1830| p=49 Vol. 2}} Now opened up, many travellers acknowledged the unfitting description of an "African El Dorado".JOURNAL, Benjaminsen, Tor A, Berge, Gunnvor, Myths of Timbuktu: From African El Dorado to Desertification, International Journal of Political Economy, 34, 1, 31–59, 2004,weblink 14 September 2010, 10.1080/08911916.2004.11042915, This development shifted the city's reputation – from being fabled because of its gold to fabled because of its location and mystery: Being used in this sense since at least 1863, English dictionaries now cite Timbuktu as a metaphor for any faraway place.WEB, Entry on 'Timbuktu', Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper, 2002,weblink 17 September 2010, In the original 1932 recording of the popular seaside song "The Sun Has Got His Hat On", the second verse contains the lines: "[The Sun's] been tanning niggers out in Timbuktu / Now he's coming back to do the same to you!"NEWS, BBC Radio Devon DJ David Lowe loses job over racist word,weblink BBC News, 2014-05-11, Similar uses of the city are found in movies, where it is used to indicate a place a person or good cannot be traced – in a Dutch Donald Duck comic subseries situated in Timbuktu, Donald Duck uses the city as a safe haven,Timboektoe subseries (Dutch) on the C.O.A. Search Engine {{webarchive|url= |date=26 November 2005 }} (I.N.D.U.C.K.S.). Retrieved d.d. 24 October 2009. and in the 1970 Disney animated feature The Aristocats, Edgar, the butler villain of the story, threatens Thomas O'Malley, Duchess, Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz with being sent to Timbuktu only for Thomas O'Malley's friends to rescue them and send Edgar there instead. It is mistakenly noted to be in French Equatorial Africa, instead of French West Africa.Notes on The Aristocats at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 October 2009In "Scales of Gold" (1991), the fourth book in Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo series, key characters go to Africa in 1464–1467 searching for gold. They find in Timbuktu intellectual and spiritual wealth that transforms them.Ali Farka Touré inverted the stereotype: "For some people, when you say 'Timbuktu' it is like the end of the world, but that is not true. I am from Timbuktu, and I can tell you that we are right at the heart of the world."AV MEDIA, Ali Farka Touré with Ry Cooder, Talking Timbuktu, CD (insert), World Circuit, 1994,

Twin towns – sister cities

Timbuktu is a sister city to the following cities:NEWS, Timbuktu 'twins' make first visit, BBC News, 24 October 2007,weblink 24 May 2010,

See also




  • {{citation |last=Barth |first=Heinrich |author-link=Heinrich Barth |title=Travels and discoveries in North and Central Africa: Being a journal of an expedition undertaken under the auspices of H. B. M.'s government, in the years 1849–1855. (3 Vols) |year=1857 |publisher=Harper & Brothers |place=New York }}. Google books: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3.
  • {{citation |last=Caillié |first=Réné |authorlink=René Caillié |title=Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo; and across the Great Desert, to Morocco, performed in the years 1824–1828 (2 Vols) |publisher=Colburn & Bentley |location=London |year=1830 }}. Google books: Volume 1, Volume 2.
  • {{citation |last=Cleaveland |first=Timothy |year=2008 |contribution=Timbuktu and Walata: lineages and higher education |title=The Meanings of Timbuktu |editor1-last=Jeppie |editor1-first=Shamil |editor2-last=Diagne |editor2-first=Souleymane Bachir |publisher=HSRC Press |place=Cape Town |isbn=978-0-7969-2204-5 |url= |pages=77–91 }}.
  • {{citation |last=Dubois |first=Felix |authorlink=Félix Dubois |title=Timbuctoo the mysterious |publisher=Longmans |location=New York |year=1896 |url= |others=White, Diana (trans.) }}.
  • {{citation |last=Hacquard |first=Augustin |authorlink=Augustin Hacquard|year=1900 |title=Monographie de Tombouctou |publisher=Société des études coloniales & maritimes |place=Paris |url= }}. Also available from Gallica.
  • {{citation |last=Heath |first=Jeffrey |authorlink=Jeffrey Heath (linguist) |title=A Grammar of Koyra Chiini: the Songhay of Timbuktu |publisher=Walter de Gruyter |year=1999 |location=Berlin |url=|isbn=9783110162851 }}.
  • {{citation |last=Hunwick |first=John O. |year=2003 |title=Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Sadi's Tarikh al-Sudan down to 1613 and other contemporary documents |publisher=Brill |place=Leiden |isbn=978-90-04-12560-5 }}. First published in 1999 as {{ISBN|90-04-11207-3}}.
  • {{citation|last=Insoll |first=Timothy |year=2002 |title=The Archaeology of Post Medieval Timbuktu |journal=Sahara |volume=13 |pages=7–22 |url= |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=8 March 2012 }}.
  • {{citation |editor1-last=Mitchell |editor1-first=P. |editor2-last=Haour |editor2-first=A. |editor3-last=Hobart |editor3-first=J. |title=Researching Africa's Past. New Contributions from British Archaeologists |year=2004 |last=Insoll |first=Timothy |contribution=Timbuktu the less Mysterious? |publisher=Oxbow |place=Oxford |pages=81–88 |contribution-url= }}.
  • {{citation |last=Jackson | first=James Grey | year=1820 |title=An Account of Timbuctoo and Housa, Territories in the Interior of Africa By El Hage Abd Salam Shabeeny |publisher=Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown |location=London |url= }}.
  • {{citation |last=Jeppie |first=Shamil |year=2008 |contribution=Re/discovering Timbuktu |title=The Meanings of Timbuktu |editor1-last=Jeppie |editor1-first=Shamil |editor2-last=Diagne |editor2-first=Souleymane Bachir |publisher=HSRC Press |place=Cape Town |isbn=978-0-7969-2204-5 |url= |pages=1–17 }}.
  • {{citation |last=Leo Africanus |author-link=Leo Africanus |title=The History and Description of Africa (3 Vols) |year=1896 |publisher=Hakluyt Society |place=London |others=Brown, Robert, editor}}. A facsimile of Pory's English translation of 1600 together with an introduction and notes by the editor. Internet Archive: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
  • {{citation |last1=McIntosh |first1=Susan Keech |last2=McIntosh |first2=Roderick J. |year=1986 |title=Archaeological reconnaissance in the region of Timbuktu |journal=National Geographic Research |volume=2 |pages=302–319 |url= }}{{Dead link|date=July 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=no }}.
  • {{Citation |last=Miner |first=Horace |title=The primitive city of Timbuctoo |year=1953 |publisher=Princeton University Press |url=}}. Link requires subscription to Aluka. Reissued by Anchor Books, New York in 1965.
  • {{Citation |last=Park |first=Douglas |year=2010 |title=Timbuktu and its prehistoric hinterland |journal=Antiquity |volume=84 |issue=326 |pages=1076–1088 |url= |doi=10.1017/S0003598X00067090 }}.
  • {{citation |last=Park |first=Douglas |title=Climate Change, Human Response and the Origins of Urbanism at Prehistoric Timbuktu |year=2011 |publisher=PhD thesis, Yale University, Department of Anthropology |place=New Haven |url= }}.
  • {{citation |last=Saad |first=Elias N. |year=1983 |title=Social History of Timbuktu: The Role of Muslim Scholars and Notables 1400–1900 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |isbn=978-0-521-24603-3 }}.

External links

{{Commons category|Timbuktu}}{{wikivoyage|Timbuktu}} {{Niger River}}{{Communes of the Tombouctou Region}}{{Authority control}}

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