Sahara and Timbuktu Essay Sample

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Timbuktu was and still is located in Mali, Africa. It served its importance in 1300-1600 BCE. through scholars, trade, and architectural achievements. The importance of scholars, wealth, trade and architectural achievements, along with the influential people made Timbuktu one of the most important cities in the post-classical world. One of the scholars at this time was Al-Rahman, who was an Arab scholar who visited Timbuktu. He found that scholars of Timbuktu were more knowledgeable in Islamic teachings than himself. Because of his visit, Timbuktu gained a reputation throughout Islamic and Christian worlds as a city of wealth (Fritze). That was their impression of Timbuktu and they gained respect towards the city. Islamic people who traveled to this city spread the wealth of Timbuktu and inspired Arabs to visit the city. Mansa Musa was the first emperor of Mali in 1300 and was also a very influential person in Timbuktu. He attracted merchants and scholars from Northern Africa to Timbuktu. He also contributed to the prominence of Timbuktu becoming the center of Muslim education (Fritze). Mansa Musa was great help to Timbuktu’s wealth and popularity.

He was one of the only emperors who helped change Timbuktu as a city and was the greatest emperor of Mali. Trade has a huge impact on this city. Timbuktu had many goods that were imported, exported and traded in and out of its city. These goods were gold, slaves and ivory (Fritze). The slaves were from Arab traders who captured and brought them in Mediterranean countries to trade (Kaba). Kola nuts were valuable trade goods and were in high demand (Fritze). Cowrie shells were important and used for many things, such as, money, salt, cloth, copper, books, dates, figs and metalwork. Cowrie shells were also valuable within trading purposes (Kaba). They used cowrie shells to attract people to each other because it was a sign of wealth and beauty to one another. Timbuktu developed a well-deserved reputation of immense wealth from trade. Also, Timbuktu became the market town for its region and was a part of one of the most important ports along the Southern boundary of The Sahara Desert (Fritze). Timbuktu stood at the junction of three important trans-Saharian caravan routes. “One was the western Mauritanian route that began at Wadi Nun and passed through Wadan and Tishit.

Another route was the northern Taghaza salt road that went on to Morocco via the oasis of Sijilmasa. The last route went east to In Salah by way of Arawan (Fritze)”. The Silk road also evolved within the trade routes. The Silk Road is through the desert and is vital to the trans-Saharan trade route (Fritze). One of the most impressive architectural achievements in Africa were mosques. A mosque is where Muslims worship. There were three main mosques that were built in the thirteenth century. The first one was called Djinquereber and it alternatively attributed to Spanish architect. This was also the most honored of the three mosques. The second one was called Sankore and it was built by Mande (Malian) Hegemony between 1325 BCE and 1433 BCE (Scarre 144). In the period of when Malian ruled, when Sankore was built. Sandkore was a place of worship for Muslims and served as a community center for both prayer and study (Fritze). The last of the three was called Sidi Yahya and it was built in 1440 by the Timbuktu chief, Muhammad Naddi. It was named Sidi Yahya in honor of a friend in the Sidi Yahya World (Scarre 144).

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