University of Timbuktu

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The University of Timbuktu was established in 982CE. Located in the city of Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa, it was composed of three schools,[citation needed] namely the Masajid of Djinguereber, the Masajid of Sidi Yahya, and the Masajid of Sankore. During the 12th century, the university had an enrollment of around 25,000 students from Africa. There were four levels within the University curriculum, that included, the "Circle of Knowledge", the "Superior Degree", the "Secondary Degree", and the "Primary Degree".[citation needed] In addition to religious principles, teachings included: geography, mathematics, the sciences, and medicine amongst others.


Originating as a seasonal settlement during the 11th century, Timbuktu quickly grew in importance and eventually became a permanent settlement by the start of the 12th century. Due to a thriving economy based on book trading, salt, gold, spices and dyes,[citation needed] a strong concentration of both wealth and intellectuals flourished. As intellectual curiosity grew so did the number of books, reaching 20,000 in the city limits alone.[1]

According to African scholar Shamil Jeppie, in chapter one of the seminal The Meanings of Timbuktu:

"...Timbuktu is a repository of history, a living archive which anybody with a concern for African history should be acquainted with. Timbuktu may be hard to get to but it played an essential role as a centre of scholarship under the Songhay state until the invasion from the rulers of Marrakesh in 1591, and even thereafter it was revived."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]

Shamil Jeppie & Souleymane Bichari Diagne (eds). The Meanings of Timbuktu. HSRC Pess: Cape Town, 2008

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