1743 French Map of Northwest Africa, depicting the areas covered in this curriculum unit.
Credit: Courtesy of American Memory at the Library of Congress.
After a rich history as a center of commerce and scholarship, the West African city of Timbuktu began a period of decline in the 16th century. In time, like the other major centers along the overland routes of West Africa, Timbuktu was forgotten. In later centuries, stories about these remote "lost cities" piqued the curiosity of many Europeans. Certain intrepid adventurers set out to rediscover them.
Many people think that Timbuktu is a mythical place—even today! Years ago, the search for the “lost city” of Timbuktu brought many adventurers to their deaths! These are the kinds of stories that attract huge television audiences! So, continuing your investigation as a scout for Globe Trekker, you set out to learn more about the search for Timbuktu.
Before beginning this task, you might want to check out the background information found at: History of Timbuktu.
In the 16th century Timbuktu was one of the bright lights of the Islamic world. What happened to it?
Jot these down in your notepad!
In the years following the city's decline, the legend of the city began to grow. So did a number of misconceptions.
The image of a city filled with gold ultimately attracted a number of treasure-hunters.
of these “horror stories”—they'll add punch to your report to the producers of Globe Trekker!
At last, a European made it to Timbuktu—and back. But he didn't find a city of gold.
Location Scouting Summary: From Here to Timbuktu
It's the 19th century. Make a list of five reasons why it's not a good idea to travel to Timbuktu. Then make another list of reasons why, despite these drawbacks, going there is a worthwhile goal.
2 class periods