timbuktu manuscripts


Timbuktu was a center of the manuscript trade, with traders bringing Islamic texts from all over the Muslim world. Despite occupations and invasions of all kinds since then, scholars managed to preserve and even restore hundreds of thousands of manuscripts dating from the 13th century.

But that changed when militant Islamists backed by al-Qaida arrived in 2012.

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the story of librarian Abdel Kader Haidara, who organized and oversaw a secret plot to smuggle hundreds of thousands of medieval manuscripts out of Timbuktu before they could be destroyed by Islamist rebels.  

Hear author Joshua Hammer tell the story here.

– Petra

The Timbuktu Manuscripts showing both mathematics and astronomy
Timbuktu Manuscripts or (Tombouctou Manuscripts) is a blanket term for the large number of historically important manuscripts that have been preserved for centuries in private households in Timbuktu, Mali. The collections include manuscripts about art, medicine, philosophy, and science of the late Abbasid Caliphate, as well as priceless copies of the Quran. The number of manuscripts in the collections has been estimated as high as 700,000.