The Western State of Mali
The Ancient West African state of Mali, was once known widely known for its great power in trade and wealth. Its Empire was located on the edge of the Sahara Dessert and stretched all the way through the Atlantic coast on the West side of Africa. Mali had many great cities such as Djenne' and Gao but the one that flourished beyond the others that even today we hear about it is the great city of Timbuktu. When this city was at its height it had the potential to influence many countries and foreigners alike, to begin on an adventure to find out what was so majestic about the city of Timbuktu.
Timbuktu, at its time was a prosperous city and through its prosperity it attracted many merchants for their resources and valuables. The empire of Mali had control of many goods that were very valuable in their age, which they would use for trade such as gold, copper, books, slaves and were extremely well known for their salt, which at the time was just as valuable as gold. At the time salt was rare in those regions and many people, especially in the south needed it, so they would come from Mali with camels full and loaded with salt to trade all across Africa. (Davidson, The Lost cities of Africa, Pg 90-91) Trade was a very important key to the success of Mali, they used the Niger river or caravans to transport their goods with the use of their trade routes that ran through out all of Western Africa and the Niger River that continued to even parts of Europe and the middle east. All traded goods were taxed by Mali and collected. Eventually, Timbuktu became a center for commercial trade which attracted many Arabic and European merchants to Mali. Timbuktu was once named “The city of Gold” or “The Empire of Gold” which stories spread through Europe and invited many travelers whom desired such riches to Mali, till this day there are plates of many European names that lived in the Mosques. (Kamiya, paragraph 29)
In the 12th century Mali became influenced by the Middle East and took on their faith of Islam. Timbuktu soon became known as an establishment for Islamic learning, developing over 200 Quranic schools and a well renown university which had three major departments of study. (Miner, The Primitive city of Timbuctoo, page 58)This attracted many scholars from all over Europe, Southwest Asia and the Middle...