Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (2023)

Timbuktu, französisch Tombouctou, ist eine Stadt im westafrikanischen Mali. Die Stadt Timbuktu, die oft als populärer Begriff verwendet wird, um einen fernen und mystischen Ort zu beschreiben, war historisch bedeutsam als pulsierendes Handelsgebiet. Im 12. Jahrhundert gehörten Sklaven und Handelswaren wie Salz, Gold und Elfenbein zu den wichtigsten Handelsgütern.

Focusing on trade in the Sahara, this lesson focuses on why Timbuktu became a center of trade, what types of goods were exchanged, the spread of Islam from North Africa to West Africa, the importance of camels as a means of transport, and the vast scale of the trade route.

The second part of this lesson focuses on the Kingdom of Mali at the height of its power under the leadership of Mansa Musa. Islam's influence on Musa's leadership is highlighted by focusing on his pilgrimage to Mecca and the building of the Grand Mosque. Finally, the lesson explains why Timbuktu was not only a center of commerce but also a center of learning and why it is now considered a World Heritage Site.

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (1) Flag of Mali.image source

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (2) Camel riding in the Sahara.image source

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (3) "The Great Mosque at Djenne, the largest adobe building in the world".image source

Trade across the Sahara

Camel caravans as a means of transport

Traders transported their goods across the Sahara in large groups known as caravans. Camels were the main means of transport and were used to transport goods and people. The camel was the most important part of the caravan. Without the camel, trade across the Sahara would have been impossible. Camels are uniquely adapted to survive long periods without water. They can also survive large changes in body temperature, allowing them to withstand the heat of the day and the cold of the desert night.

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (4) A camel caravan moves through the Sahara. Some of these caravans will leave from 4am to sunset to exchange goods with other people.image source

Sometimes slaves also carried goods. Traveling by camel caravans was slow, tiring and dangerous. Perils such as excessive heat, suffocating sandstorms, starvation, thirst, and raider attacks increased the chances of getting lost. Despite all this, Trans-Saharan trade along the caravan routes connecting the oases existed from earliest times. The Silk Roads were being used as early as the late Bronze Age, with the intensive use of the roads across the desert sparked by the domestication of the camel. The caravans included an average of 1,000 camels, sometimes as many as 12,000 animals. The runners were sent ahead to the oasis to send water when the caravan was still days away. Large caravans were safer because they offered protection from bandits. Today, transportation across the desert is largely accomplished by an extensive network of paved roads, in addition to air and sea transportation. Tuareg camel caravans still travel traditional Saharan routes, transporting salt from the desert interior to communities on the desert's fringes.

Goods, including salt, were brought to Mali from Europe and North Africa, where they were traded for gold, slaves, ivory and ostrich feathers

In the ancient kingdom of Mali, the most important industry was the gold industry, while the other trade was the salt trade. Much gold was traded across the Sahara to countries along the North African coast. West African gold mines brought great wealth to West African empires such as Ghana and Mali. Other commonly traded items included ivory, kola nuts, cloth, metal products, beads and also people in the slave trade.

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (5) Salt (pictured below) was often brought from Europe and North Africa in exchange for gold (pictured above) or other commodities such as slaves or ivory.image source

Gold was plentiful in West Africa and used as a means of payment. It was also used as decoration by the wealthy, used in garments and treasured by many people. African gold was famous all over the world and many countries coveted and traded it. The gold trade brought great wealth to Mali. The main product they imported was salt, which they used for many things. Since salt was plentiful in northern Mali but scarce in the south, they had to import it. Salt was mainly used for preserving food like meat but also corpses etc. The Malians would also need salt in their diet as they don't usually get much of it in their diet. They also imported things like glass, pottery, and precious stones from North Africa.

(Video) Grade 7 History - The kingdom of Mali & Timbuktu

The spread of Islam in North Africa and West Africa by traders in the 9th century

Islam had spread to North Africa by the mid-seventh century AD, just a few decades after the Prophet Muhammad and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina on the neighboring Arabian Peninsula. Although Islam's presence in West Africa dates back to the 8th century, the spread of the faith in North Africa was a gradual and complex process. Islam slowly spread into what are now the modern states of Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria. Much of what we know about the early history of West Africa comes from medieval accounts written by Arab and North African geographers and historians. It is evident that Islam's early presence in West Africa was linked to trade with North Africa. Although trade between West Africa and the Mediterranean predated Islam, North African Muslims intensified trans-Saharan trade. North African traders played a key role in introducing Islam to West Africa. Between the 8th and 9th centuries, Arab traders and travelers, and later African clergy, began to spread the religion along the east coast of Africa and in western and central Sudan.

The first converts to the religion were Sudanese merchants, followed by some rulers and courtiers. However, the masses of land peasants remained relatively unaffected. In the 11th century, the intervention of the Almoravids, led by a group of Berber nomads who were strict adherents of Islamic law, gave a new impetus to the process of conversion in the Ghanaian Empire and beyond.

The history of Islam in West Africa can be divided into three phases: containment, mingling and reform. In the first phase, African kings limited Muslim influence by dividing Muslim communities; in the second phase, African rulers mixed Islam with local traditions as the population selectively adopted Islamic practices; and finally, in the third phase, African Muslims pushed for reforms to rid their societies of mixed practices and introduce Sharia.

Kingdom of Mali

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (6) A depiction of Mansa Musa in the 14th century.image source

Mali at the height of its power under Mansa Musa in the early 14th century

Mansa Musa left an important mark on Mali by introducing the kingdom to Islam and making it one of the first Muslim states in North Africa. He integrated the laws of the Koran into his country's judicial system. Cities like Timbuktu and Gao have become international centers of Islamic learning and culture. Mosques and elaborate libraries were built. The university that arose in Timbuktu was possibly the first in the world. Cities became meeting places for poets, scholars and artists. Musa became one of the most powerful and wealthy leaders of his time. Mali entered the imagination of European and Islamic countries in the 14th century.

Mansa Musa pilgrimage to Mecca

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (7) A camel caravan moves through the Sahara. Some of these caravans will leave from 4am to sunset to exchange goods with other people.image source

Musa is best known for his pilgrimage to Mecca, a visit that put Mali on the map. In 1339, Mali appeared on a “map of the world” after his pilgrimage. In 1367, another world map showed a road leading from North Africa through the Atlas Mountains to western Sudan. In 1375, a Third World map showed a richly dressed monarch with a large nugget of gold in sub-Saharan Africa. Trade between Egypt and Mali also flourished.

On his return from Mecca, Musa brought with him an Arabic library, religious scholars, and architects; who helped him build royal palace universities, libraries and mosques throughout his kingdom. He strengthened Islam and promoted education, trade and commerce in Mali. He laid the foundation for Walata, Jenne and Timbuktu to become the cultural and commercial center of North Africa.

Mansa Kankan Musa ruled with all the ideals of a good Muslim king. He died in the mid-14th century and Mali was never the same. Internal disputes between the ruling families weakened Mali's governance and its network of states began to unravel. Then, in 1430, a group of Berbers took over much of Mali's territory, including Timbuktu.

Construction of the Great Mosque

(Video) The City of Timbuktu

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (8) The Great Mosque of Djenné, the largest adobe building in the world.image source

The Great Mosque of Djenné is the largest adobe building in the world and is considered by many architects to be the greatest achievement of the Sudanese-Sahelian architectural style, albeit with clear Islamic influences. Originally built in the 13th or 14th century, reconstruction of what is now the Great Mosque began in 1906 and was probably completed between 1907 and 1909. The construction of the mosque was overseen and directed by the head of the Djenné stonemasons' guild, Ismaila Traoré. At the time, Djenné was part of the French West African colony and the French may have offered political and economic support for the construction of the mosque and a nearby madrasa. The structure of the river-lined small town of Djenné, with a population of about 23,000 and around 2,000 houses, most of which retain the traditional Malian style.

The city of Timbuktu

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (9) A portrait of Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad Al-Wazzan, known in the West as Leo Africanus.image source

Leo Africanus' eyewitness accounts of his travels and descriptions of Timbuktu in his book Description of Africa (1550)

For centuries, caravans were the primary mode of transport for goods traded between the Mediterranean and Sudan. Cloths, salt, metals, beads and writing paper were brought to what is now Mali from Europe and the Maghreb, where they were exchanged for gold, slaves, ivory and ostrich feathers.

The last caravan routes were closed in 1933. Leo traveled along these caravan routes to the Sahara and twice to Timbuktu; once, as a young man, he accompanied his uncle to visit the Sultan of Sudan; and once, a few years later, on a longer journey through what was then "Black Africa".

Below is Leo Africanus' description of Africa and Timbuktu in particular, written around 1492.

“The name of this kingdom is modern, after a city built by a king named Mansa Suleyman in AD 610 about twelve miles from a branch of the Niger. Timbuktu houses are huts made of mud-covered sticks with thatched roofs. In the center of the city is a temple built of stone and mortar, and there is also a large palace built by the same architect where the king lives. The shops of craftsmen, merchants and especially weavers of cotton fabrics are very numerous. Cloths are also imported to Timbuktu by Berber traders from Europe. The town's women maintain the custom of covering their faces with a veil, except for the slaves, who sell all the food. The inhabitants are very rich, especially the foreigners who have settled in the country; so much so that the current king, because of his wealth, gave two of his daughters in marriage to two brothers, both businessmen. There are many fountains with fresh water in Timbuktu. Grains and animals are plentiful, so the consumption of milk and butter is considerable. But salt is in very short supply because it is brought in from Tegaza, about 800 kilometers from Timbuktu. I happened to be in this town at a time when a shipment of salt was being sold for eighty ducats. The king has a rich treasure of gold coins and bars.

The royal court is magnificent and very well organized. When the king moves from one city to another with the people of his court, he rides on a camel and the horses are led by the hand by servants. When it is necessary to fight, servants ride camels, and all soldiers ride horses. If anyone wants to speak to the king, he must kneel and bow down before him; but this is required only of those who have never spoken to the king or ambassadors before. This king only wages war against neighboring enemies and against those who do not want to pay tribute to him. If he gets a victory, he sells them all - even the children - in the Timbuktu market.

Only small and poor horses are born in this country. Merchants use them for their travels and courtiers use them to get around the city. But the good horses come from Berberia. They arrive in a caravan and ten or twelve days later are taken to the ruler, who takes as many as he wants and pays them accordingly.

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (10) A rusty page from "A Geographical History of Africa" ​​by Leo Africanus.image source

The king is a declared enemy of the Jews. He will not allow anyone to live in the city. If he hears that a Berber merchant is visiting them or doing business with them, he confiscates their goods. There are numerous judges, teachers and priests in Timbuktu, all duly appointed by the king. He greatly honors learning. Many manuscript books imported from Berberia are also sold. More profit is made from this trade than from any other commodity.

Instead of minted money, nuggets of pure gold are used; and small mussel shells brought from Persia for small purchases.

The people of Timbuktu are peaceful by nature. They have a habit of walking around the city almost continuously at night between 10pm and 1am (except for the gold sellers), playing musical instruments and dancing. The citizens have at their service many slaves, men and women.

The city is very threatened by fire. When I was there on my second trip, half the city burned down within five hours. But the wind was fierce, and residents of the other half of town began moving their belongings, afraid the other half would burn.

(Video) Grade 7 - Social Sciences | 20 July 2020 | The Kingdom of Mali

There are no gardens or orchards in the Timbuktu area.”

Timbuktu as a trading center on the Trans-Saharan caravan route

The trade route through the Sahara spanned a vast region between Mediterranean countries and sub-Saharan Africa. It was an important trade route from the beginning of the 8th century to the end of the 16th century. As a place where countless people traded; The Sahara was surrounded by many small trade routes. The establishment of trade connected the Europeans with the African empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. However, traveling through the Sahara was difficult; Transportation depended heavily on camels.

In 1235 the Ghana Empire collapsed and the Islamic Empire of Mali rose to power. Due to the strong Muslim push at the time, many Ghanaians converted to Islam. Although the gold salt trade continued, a second major trade route for gold salt emerged. This route meandered through the Sahara and further into Egypt's interior. As both routes prospered, the growing influence of Egyptian culture spread throughout Sudan. Under the Mali Empire, prosperous cities proliferated. Particular cities like Gao and Djenné on the bend of the Niger developed with great prosperity. As for Timbuktu, it has become widely known as the city of fortune. The growth of the Mali Empire led to an expansion of the region into savanna and forest. Western routes were developed and with them cities like Ouadane, Oualata, Chinguetti, Begho and Bono Manso emerged along important trade routes.

Portuguese expeditions from the West African coast created new trade routes between Europe and West Africa. European bases on the coast were established in the late 16th century. Because the Sahara route was a treacherous route, it led to a weakening of political and economic influence in North Africa. In 1591 the Moroccan War devastated Timbuktu and Gao, important trading centers. The aftermath of the war significantly reduced trade. Trade routes across the Sahara continued after the war. After the French invasion, railways were built and trade routes from West Africa became dominant. From the mid-20th century, several nations gained independence.

Or Reign of Askia Muhammad

Goods coming from the Mediterranean coast and salt traded for gold in Timbuktu

From the 11th century, Timbuktu became an important port where West African and North African goods were traded. Goods from the Mediterranean coast and salt were exchanged for gold in Timbuktu. Salt, books and gold were the main commodities traded in Timbuktu. Salt was extracted from the mines of Tegaza and Taoudenit in the north, gold from the vast gold mines of Boure and Banbuk, and books were the ingenious work of black and Arab scholars.

Timbuktu had been an important trading route across the Sahara. Goods from the Mediterranean coast and salt from Central Sahara were exchanged for gold in Timbuktu. Timbuktu's prosperity attracted African scholars and Arab traders from North Africa.

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (11) Pictured above are gold nuggets exchanged for salt/or other commodities.image source

Timbuktu specialized in knowledge and book trade. [This is consistent with the CAPS syllabus and does not just focus on Muhammad's rule]

Under the rule of Askia Muhammed (1493-1591), Timbuktu became an important center for Islamic learning, engineering, medicine and architecture. With Sankore Maddressah (comparable to an Islamic university) campus attended by around 25,000 students, Timbuktu became an intellectual and religious center and served as a distribution platform for scholars and books. Books were not only written in Timbuktu, but also imported and copied. In fact, there was a local book copying industry in the city.

Hundreds and thousands of manuscripts have been written over the centuries. Written in elaborate calligraphy, the manuscripts constitute a compendium teaching everything from law, science, and medicine to history and politics. Timbuktu is said to have benefited more from the book trade than any other industry.

Timbuktu as a learning center

(Video) Rise and Fall of the Mali Empire

Math, Chemistry, Physics, Optics, Astronomy, Medicine, History, Geography, Traditions of Islam, Government Laws and much more

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (12)Some of the 20,000 ancient manuscripts of the Ahmed Baba Institute. Photography: Ben Curtis/AP.image source

The Golden Age of Islam is traditionally dated from the mid-7th to mid-13th centuries. During this period, Muslim rulers built one of the largest empires in history. “In Timbuktu there are numerous judges, scholars and priests, all well paid by the king, who greatly honors learned men. Many manuscript books from the Barbary are sold. These sales are more profitable than any other commodity,” wrote Leo Africanus in the 16th century. During this period, artists, engineers, scholars, poets, philosophers, geographers and traders from the Islamic world contributed to agriculture, art, economics, industry, law, literature, navigation, philosophy, science and history, preserving traditions and adding our own inventions and innovations. Also at this time the Muslim world became an important intellectual center of science, philosophy, medicine and education.

Although mosques such as sankore were centers of learning, much of the day-to-day teaching took place more informally in the homes of the scholars. The core of the Islamic doctrinal tradition is the transmission of texts, transmitted from teacher to student through a chain of transmitters, preferably through the shortest and most reputable group of intermediaries. The student listened to the teacher's dictation, wrote their own copy and read it out or listened to another student. Scholars had their own private libraries to help them teach.

Timbuktu Manuscripts Project and South African Cooperation

The city and its desert surroundings are an archive of Arabic and African handwritten texts written in Arabic script between the 13th and 20th centuries. The Timbuktu Manuscript Libraries are important repositories of scholarly production in West Africa and the Sahara. Given the large number of manuscript collections, it is surprising that Timbuktu is largely unknown and underused as an archive.

Grade 7 - Quarter 1: The Kingdom of Mali and the City of Timbuktu in the 14th Century (13) The photo above is an example of a deteriorating manuscript. The Timbuktu Manuscript Project aims to preserve the contents of these manuscripts.image source

The manuscripts are written testimonies to the skills of African scientists in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, medicine and climatology in the Middle Ages.

South Africa is leading a project to build a new library to house between 200,000 and 300,000 ancient manuscripts currently housed in 24 private libraries in and around the city of Mali and to train local librarians in preserving a treasure that is literally falling into decay threatens. Launched in 2003, the South Africa-Mali Manuscript Project was the first formal cultural project of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African Union's socio-economic development plan. The Timbuktu Scrolls, or Mali Scrolls, some of which date from the 13th century, are Arabic and African texts that tell of the city's glorious past; when Muslim merchants traded gold from West Africa to Europe and the Middle East in exchange for salt and other commodities. The manuscripts point to the fact that Africa has a rich legacy of written history, contradicting the popular notion that only oral traditions have preserved the continent's legacy. A South African-Malian Timbuktu Manuscripts Project was officially launched in 2003, and a major achievement of this project was the new library and archive building that opened in Timbuktu in January 2009.

Why Timbuktu is a World Heritage Site

In recognition of its importance as a site of African architecture and its academic past, UNESCO declared Timbuktu a World Heritage Site in 1990. Timbuktu was a thriving center of science that was instrumental in spreading Islam across Africa. It maintains three notable mosques and one of the largest collections of ancient manuscripts in the world. Long synonymous with the far end of the world, this West African city was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988, many centuries after its heyday. Timbuktu can be considered an intellectual and spiritual capital in the 15th and 16th centuries and a center for the spread of Islam throughout Africa.

The criteria for declaring Timbuktu as a cultural heritage have been described as follows: a) sharing of values, (b) icon of an era and (c) interaction with the environment.

The mosques of Mali and the holy sites of Timbuktu played an important role in the early spread of Islam in Africa. The three great mosques of Timbuktu, restored by Qadi Al Aqib in the 16th century, bear witness to the city's golden age at the end of the Askia dynasty. The three mosques and mausoleums are outstanding examples of urbanization in Timbuktu.

Although these monuments are continually being restored, they are now threatened by desertification as radical Islamists known as Ansar Dine have taken over the small town in Mali and are threatening to destroy priceless monuments, religious sites and documents. Tourism suffers from years of security problems. Gunmen arrested three foreigners and killed a fourth on a street in Timbuktu last November. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility.


Why was the city of Timbuktu significant in the 14th century? ›

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. Three of western Africa's oldest mosques—Djinguereber (Djingareyber), Sankore, and Sidi Yahia—were built there during the 14th and early 15th centuries.

Why did Mali become a strong and well known empire during the 14th century? ›

The Mali Empire controlled all of the salt trade along the trade routes and was the second largest and most successful empire between 1230 and 1600. The Niger River played an important part in Mali's success, providing a method of transporting heavy goods and accessing more trade.

Why was Timbuktu important in the kingdom of Mali? ›

For more than 600 years, Timbuktu was a significant religious, cultural and commercial center whose residents traveled throughout Asia, Africa and Europe. Timbuktu was famous for educating important scholars who were well known throughout the Islamic world.

What 14th century king of the Mali Empire is mostly remembered? ›

Mansa Musa (Musa I of Mali) was the ruler of the kingdom of Mali from 1312 C.E. to 1337 C.E. During his reign, Mali was one of the richest kingdoms of Africa, and Mansa Musa was among the richest individuals in the world.

Why is Timbuktu so important in the history of education and culture? ›

Timbuktu's rich history of learning had to do with its situation as a commercial hub from the 12th century. It was at the cross-roads of trans-Saharan trade routes and became famous for its supply of gold. The city attracted Muslim scholars and scribes from different Islamic beliefs and different geographical regions.

How did Timbuktu get started and why did it become an important city? ›

Travelers coming from the west brought gold to trade for salt from mines to the east. Some of these travelers chose to make the location their permanent dwelling, and before long the town became a city. By the early 1300s, Timbuktu belonged to the Empire of Mali and was truly prospering.

What 3 things was the Mali Empire famous for? ›

The Mali Empire is most known for prolific trade networks, development in education, wealth in gold and salt, and the establishment and spread of Islam in West Africa. Much of what we understand about the Empire of Mali can be derived from famed traveler Ibn Battuta (1304-1377 CE), who spent time in Mali's royal court.

What is Timbuktu most well known for? ›

Timbuktu is best known for its famous Djinguereber Mosque and prestigious Sankore University, both of which were established in the early 1300s under the reign of the Mali Empire, most famous ruler, Mansa Musa.

What were three important facts about the kingdom of Mali? ›

Interesting Facts about the Empire of Ancient Mali

Some historians estimate that Mansa Musa may have been the wealthiest person in history. The great wealth of Mali came from gold and salt mines. The capital city of the empire was Niani. Other important cities included Timbuktu, Gao, Djenne, and Walata.

What is Timbuktu AP world history? ›

Timbuktu: Great city of West Africa, noted in the fourteenth-sixteenth centuries as a center of Islamic scholarship.

Why was Timbuktu an important city in Mali quizlet? ›

Why was the city of Timbuktu important? It was a center of trade, culture, and education.

Why was Timbuktu an important place quizlet? ›

Timbuktu was an important post on the Trans-Saharan caravan trade route and in the 14th century, was the focal point of the gold and salt trade. The city was founded in 1100 AD by the Tuareg nomads and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Mali in the late 13th century, by Mansa Musa.

What are the important events that happened in Mali? ›

1968 - Keita ousted in coup led by Lieutenant Moussa Traore. 1977 - Protests erupt following Keita's death in prison. 1979 - New constitution provides for elections; Traore re-elected president. 1985 - Mali and Burkina Faso engage in border fighting.

Who is the king of Mali and why is he significant? ›

Mūsā I is widely considered the wealthiest man in history. He made his wealth and that of Mali known through a long and extravagant pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, the 17th year of his reign as emperor of Mali.

Who was the most famous ruler of Mali and what effect did he have on the North African economy? ›

Mansa Musa was the ruler of the largest and wealthiest North African country during his reign in 1312-1337 C.E. He became well known for his wealth when he took a lavish pilgrimage to Mecca, spending extravagently along the way.

Why was Timbuktu important and how did the city become wealthy? ›

Timbuktu was the starting point for trans-Saharan camel caravans which transported goods northwards. Timbuktu was one of the most important cities in the Mali Empire because of its location near the Niger River bend and so it was fed by the trade along both the east and west branches of this great water highway.

How did Timbuktu lose its importance? ›

The decline of Timbuktu as a hub for scholars began in 1591 when the site was taken over by musket-wielding soldiers from Morocco. Although further great works would be produced, including two great chronicles of Timbuktu's history finished in the 17th century, the city struggled to regain its former lustre.

What caused the decline of Timbuktu? ›

The crisis of Timbuktu's market was provoked by the interaction of two factors: first, the gen- eral decline of Mediterranean trade resulting from the emergence of the new Trans-Oceanic trade, and the crisis of the system's component parts at the individual level, and their inability to function as a system; and second ...

Why was the city of Timbuktu well known quizlet? ›

Why was the city of Timbuktu well known? It possessed a thriving urban culture.

How did Timbuktu became a center of learning quizlet? ›

Timbuktu became a center of learning because: - People who practice Islam believe in education, because they believe that all Muslims should be able to read the Quran. The rulers of Timbuktu became Muslims, and as a result of this influence, education was strongly promoted in this area.

Where is Timbuktu located What is the history of this town and the meaning behind the phrase as far away as Timbuktu? ›

Timbuktu is a city in Africa. The expression "as far away as Timbuktu" just means someplace far away, because for Europeans and North Americans who primarily use this phrase, it is rather far away.

What is the importance of Mali in African history? ›

The Mali Empire was the largest empire in West Africa and profoundly influenced the culture of West Africa through the spread of its language, laws and customs. Until the 19th century, Timbuktu remained important as an outpost at the southwestern fringe of the Muslim world and a hub of the trans-Saharan slave trade.

What is special about Mali? ›

The country's economy centres on agriculture and mining. One of Mali's most prominent natural resources is gold, and the country is the third largest producer of gold on the African continent. It also exports salt.

Why did Timbuktu grow rich? ›

Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu in Mali became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. 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.

What does Timbuktu mean? ›

/ (ˌtɪmbʌkˈtuː) / noun. a town in central Mali, on the River Niger: terminus of a trans-Saharan caravan route; a great Muslim centre (14th–16th centuries).

What language did Timbuktu speak? ›

Language. The main language of Timbuktu is a Songhay variety termed Koyra Chiini, spoken by over 80% of residents. Smaller groups, numbering 10% each before many were expelled during the Tuareg/Arab rebellion of 1990-1994, speak Hassaniya Arabic and Tamashek.

What was Mali greatest achievement? ›

Some of its notable achievements include: Establishing a prosperous and centralized state under Emperor Sundiata Keita, Building numerous impressive mosques and universities, Encouraging social mobility and education for all citizens, and Advancing Islamic scholarship and culture throughout West Africa; ultimately, the ...

What was the Mali kingdom AP world history? ›

Mali, trading empire that flourished in western Africa from the 13th to the 16th century. The Mali empire developed from the state of Kangaba, on the upper Niger River east of the Fouta Djallon, and is said to have been founded before 1000 ce.

Who was the most important person in Mali? ›

After Sundiata, the most famous ruler of the Mali empire is Mansa Kankan Musa I, who came to power several decades after the death of his legendary predecessor. Musa was not the first emperor of Mali to embrace Islam; unlike the Soninke and the Soso, Mande royalty adopted the religion relatively early.

Was there slavery in Timbuktu? ›

Timbuktu became a great center of learning as well as of commerce. But her downfall, like Great Zimbabwe's, involved slavery. When Europe began buying slaves, Africans set up huge trading enterprises on the West African coast and Timbuktu's economy weakened. Moroccan invaders took it over in 1591.

Where did Timbuktu come from? ›

It was founded by Tuareg nomads in the 12th Century and within 200 years had become an immensely wealthy city, at the centre of important trading routes for salt and gold.

What did Timbuktu trade? ›

Salt, books and gold were the main commodities that were traded in Timbuktu. Salt was extracted from the mines of Tegaza and Taoudenit in the north, gold from the immense gold mines of the Boure and Banbuk and books were the refined work of black and Arabs scholars.

Why was Timbuktu called the city of gold? ›

Timbuktu is Mali West Africa's cradle of knowledge. In the 15th century, Timbuktu was known as the “city of gold,” a name born of the fact that much of the gold produced in mines of the Mali Empire moved by camel caravan through Timbuktu and across the desert to North Africa and Europe.

Why is Timbuktu used in the saying? ›

What does “From here to Timbuktu mean”? We essentially use this phrase to denote somewhere very far away. It is used to mean a journey we really don't want to do, such as “ I'm not going from here to Timbuktu to pick up your things”.

What are 3 major issues affecting the country of Mali today? ›

  • Political Crisis.
  • Abuses by Islamist Armed Groups.
  • Abuses by State Security Forces.
  • Violations of Children's Rights.
  • Women and Girls Rights.
  • Communal Violence.
  • Accountability for Abuses.

What caused the Mali conflict? ›

The Mali War is an ongoing armed conflict that started in January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa. On 16 January 2012, several insurgent groups began fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali, which they called Azawad.

How did Mali impact the world? ›

The Mali Empire was the largest in West Africa, and profoundly influenced the culture of the region through the spread of its language, laws, and customs along lands adjacent to the Niger River, as well as other areas consisting of numerous vassal kingdoms and provinces.

How did Mali become wealthy and powerful at the same time? ›

Mansa Musa inherited a kingdom that was already wealthy, but his work in expanding trade made Mali the wealthiest kingdom in Africa. His riches came from mining significant salt and gold deposits in the Mali kingdom. Elephant ivory was another major source of wealth.

How did Mansa Musa improve Timbuktu? ›

Mansa Musa improves the empire

In Timbuktu, which Musa added to the empire in 1325, he completely changed the city. He built the world famous Djinguereber Mosque (which still stands today). He also founded the University of Sankore. This became one of the greatest centres of Islamic learning in the world.

Why is Mali important to the US? ›

Key U.S. interests in Mali include promoting a stable democracy and improved governance; promoting regional security by combatting terrorists and traffickers who seek to exploit ungoverned spaces in the Sahel; reducing chronic vulnerability by improving social development and increasing sustainable livelihoods; and ...

What happened to Mali after Mansa Musa died? ›

Following Mansa Musa's death around 1337, the empire fell victim to declining influence around Africa. Other trade centers developed, hurting the commercial wealth that had once so freely surrounded Mali. Poor leadership set the kingdom on a path of civil wars.

Was the founder of the Mali Empire he crushed his enemies and won control of the gold trade routes known as the lion prince? ›

The lion prince Sundiata (reigned 1230–1255) built the Mali empire during the first half of the thirteenth century after his return from exile.

What was the significance of Timbuktu quizlet? ›

Timbuktu was an important post on the Trans-Saharan caravan trade route and in the 14th century, was the focal point of the gold and salt trade. The city was founded in 1100 AD by the Tuareg nomads and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Mali in the late 13th century, by Mansa Musa.

Why was the city of Timbuktu important quizlet? ›

Why was the city of Timbuktu important? It was a center of trade, culture, and education.

What countries did Mali develop trade with in the 14th century? ›

While trade along the Trans-Sahara trade route was common in the 14th century, it was highly dependent on the powerful African Empires, such as the Mali Empire, Kingdom of Kongo, Benin Kingdom, Hausa City-states, Great Zimbabwe, Ethiopian Empire, Kilwa Sultanate, and the Ajuran Sultanate.

What is the meaning behind the phrase as far away as Timbuktu? ›

Once spelt as Timbuctoo, the city in northern Mali has come to represent a place far away, at the end of the world. As the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, "the most distant place imaginable".

Why do you think Kunta wants to study in Timbuktu What does this reveal about him? ›

Why do you think Kunta wants to study in Timbuktu? What does this reveal about Him? He wants to make his own path because he knows he will be a good soldier, but he wants to challenge himself intellectually.

Why did the Mali Empire begin to decline quizlet? ›

Mali's decline happened because of the death of Mansa Musa, Berber nomads attacked the trade routes, and Songhai stopped paying taxes to the government. Definition: The greatest trade empire of west Africa.

What are three interesting facts about Timbuktu? ›

7 random facts about Timbuktu
  • It is also known as the "city of 333 saints" ...
  • It is recognized as a World Heritage Site. ...
  • Timbuktu's founding dates back to the 11th century. ...
  • Timbuktu is home to three of western Africa's oldest mosques. ...
  • Timbuktu has been captured and ruled by a variety of groups and leaders.
May 3, 2022

Why was Timbuktu an important location in Mali's empire quizlet? ›

Why was Timbuktu an important location in Mali's empire? It was a center for learning. Which of the following is an accurate description of religious practices in Songhai? The people of Songhai practiced both traditional spiritual beliefs and Islam.

What did Timbuktu contribute to Mali's importance as a kingdom quizlet? ›

What did Timbuktu contribute to Mali's importance as a kingdom? Timbuktu was important as an area of vigorous trade. Timbuktu was a city in the kingdom of Mali. During the 12th century, serfs and goods such as gold, salt, and ivory were among the prime commodities of trade.

What four major goods did Mali trade? ›

The most important export items are gold, cotton, and live animals, while imports consist largely of machinery, appliances, and transport equipment and food products. Mali's major trading partners are China and other Asian countries, neighbouring countries, South Africa, and France.

What 3 goods were important to the Mali Empire? ›

Three of the most important commodities along these routes – and under Malian control – were salt, gold, and the kola nut: salt was mined in the north, at Taghaza, and was carried in the form of large tablets on the back of camels across the desert; gold was mined in abundance in the south, at Bambuk, then the source ...

How did Mali benefit from trade? ›

West African Trade:

West Africa during the time of the Mali Empire (1230 - 1670) had bountiful resources. Gold, salt, and copper were in abundance in the region. Given the value of these commodities, the Mali Empire became very wealthy.

Which of the following describes the importance of Timbuktu in the fourteenth century quizlet? ›

Which of the following describes the importance of Timbuktu in the fourteenth century? It was a commercial center in West Africa that was an intellectual center for Muslim scholars.

Why do we have two words for a big city quizlet? ›

Why do we have two words for a big city: metropolis and megalopolis? A metropolis is just one city while a megalopolis includes many different cities.

What was building which was the Centre of learning in Timbuktu called? ›

Sankoré Madrasa (also called the University of Sankoré, or Sankore Masjid) is one of three ancient centers of learning located in Timbuktu, Mali. It is believed to be established by Mansa Musa, who was the ruler of the Mali Empire, though the Sankoré mosque itself was founded by an unknown Malinke patron.


1. 7. The Songhai Empire - Africa's Age of Gold
(Fall of Civilizations)
2. The Ancient and Medieval African Kingdoms: A Complete Overview
(Made In History)
3. The Legend of Timbuktu
(Baitcal Media Group)
4. Timbuktu is a historical and still-inhabited city in the African nation of Mali
(Cities of the World)
5. Lost Kingdoms of Africa 4 of 4 West Africa
(Sully Man)
6. The Manuscripts and Intellectual Legacy of Timbuktu
(Gresham College)


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