Blogging the road 2 Timbuktu
The Berbers are a proud race with one of the longest histories on earth. They called North Africa their home long before the arrival of the Arabs. Their culture is believed to date back more than 4,000 years and ancient Berber states called Mauritania and Numidia existed in classical times.
Between the 11th and 13th centuries, two great Berber dynasties – the Almoravids and the Almohads – much of north-west Africa and parts of Spain. Today, there are substantial Berber populations in Morocco and Algeria, plus smaller numbers in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
Timbuktu is an evocative name. For over a millenium it has conjured travel, mystery and adventure, salt, gold and knowledge. It is a town located where the Niger River flows northward into the desert. Timbuktu was founded by the Tuareg Imashagan in the 11th century and thanks to its unique geographical position, it became a natural meeting point for Tuareg, Songhai, Wangara, Fulani and Arabs. From the 11th century onwards, Timbuktu became an important port where goods from West Africa and North Africa were traded. Timbuktu is also the crossroads “where the camel meets the canoe," a place of traders and middle-men. Timbuktuians say of their history: gold came from the south, salt from the north, and Divine Knowledge, from within.