Black Books…

The libraries of Timbuktu (by the 1300s) in Mali contain over 400,000 manuscripts, mostly from the city’s glory days from the 1300s to the 1500s. The manuscripts range from contracts and sales receipts to books of religion, law, poetry, astronomy and history. Thanks to Timbuktu’s hot, dry weather (it stands at the edge of the Sahara), its deep love of books and its history as a seat of high learning, it has preserved an amazing treasure from Africa’s past.

And before that, in 1591, Morocco, armed by Queen Elizabeth I, destroyed the city and sold many of its people to work as slaves in the Americas. Among those sold were doctors, judges, writers, musicians and artists. One was the scholarAhmed Baba, the namesake of the Institute.

Most of the books are in Arabic, the Latin of West Africa. But there are also books written in Songhai, Wolof, Hausa, Fulfulde and Tamasheq. There are books from Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Spain – and even Greece:Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy and Hippocrates.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s