Timbuctoo the Mysterious


This book is an English translation of Tombouctou la mystérieuse, published in Paris in 1897. The author, Felix Dubois (1862–1945), was a French journalist who in 1895 traveled from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, and from there down the River Niger in what was then called French Sudan. He visited the town of Jenne, which he called the “jewel of the valley of the Niger” and from there proceeded to the ancient city of Timbuktu. Citing an old Sudanese chronicle that called Timbuktu “the meeting-place of all who travel by camel or canoe,” Dubois highlighted the city’s importance as a commercial center and transportation hub. “The camels transfer their burdens to the canoes, and the vessels confide their cargoes to the camels, Timbuctoo being the place of trans-shipment.” The city was also an important literary and religious center—the home to many mosques, libraries, and the University of Sankoré, whose founding dates to the 10th century and the establishment of the Sankoré mosque. Dubois also discussed early European travelers to Timbuktu, including the Scottish explorer Mungo Park (1771–1806) and the German Heinrich Barth (1821–65), and recounted the annexation of the city by the French empire in 1893.

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Longmans, Green and Co., New York


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xi, [1], 377 pages, illustrated (includes maps and plans), 23 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2015