Commercial Agreement (Gold as Currency)


Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. This commercial agreement concerns commerce in several cities. The agreement contains interesting references to the cost of building houses in the city of Massinah (present-day Macina). Gold is used as the standard of value in all transactions, which include the buying and selling of slaves, gold bullion, and Acacia senegal (gum arabic).

Last updated: April 28, 2015