Timbuktu (Tombouctou) has always had historical significance largely because of the story of the great emperor of the kingdom of Mali, Mansa Kankan Musa https://afrolegends.com/2015/03/20/kankan-musa-the-richest-man-in-world-history/ but unbeknown to many in the educated world, the first university in the world was the Sankore University in Timbuktu, capital of Mali.
Students came from all over the world to study at Timbuktu.The University was organized around three great Masajids or Mosques. The Masajid of Jingaray Ber, The Masajid of Sidi Yahya, The Masajid of Sankore. Masajids are places of worship for Muslims.Around the 12th century, the University of Timbuktu had an attendance of 25, 000 students in a city which had a population of 100, 000 people. The students came from all corners of the African continent in search of excellence in knowledge and trade. http://www.africanecho.co.uk/africanechonews4-mar24.html
To those who say Africa only has an oral tradition, go and check out the 700,000 manuscripts at the great Sankore University in Timbuktu.
Timbuktu’s literary output was enormous, and included works covering the history of Africa and southern Europe, religion, mathematics, medicine and law. There were manuscripts detailing the movement of the stars, possible cures for malaria and remedies for menstrual pain.
In one documentary, the speaker mentions that they translated one of the manuscript on Algebra from Arabic to French, and sent it to France to be evaluated educationally; that manuscript revealed that the mathematics it contained was currently studied in 2nd year of university in France, and the speaker then says “and that was taught at universities in Timbuktu before the 16th century”!
Timbuktu also houses some of the world’s oldest mud mosques, and every year the people of the city unite to re-do the walls of the mosque. It was added to the UNESCO world’s heritage list in 1988 (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/).
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