Lesson 5: Trekking to Timbuktu: Timbuktu's Golden Age of Scholarship--Teacher Version

Timbuktu reached its peak as a center of Islamic culture and scholarship in the 16th century. This was its Golden Age. It was now a major city in the Songhai Empire. Of the city's population of nearly 100,000, a quarter were students and scholars. Many of these came from other parts of the Islamic world to study or teach at the cities many madrasas (Islamic schools) and its three universities, the most renowned being that associated with the Sankore Mosque.

Guiding Questions

What was the Songhai Empire?

What factors made Timbuktu a spiritual and intellectual center of Islam?

What were the schools there like?

What books were used?

Learning Objectives

Identify the empire of Songhai and describe Timbuktu's role in its economy

Understand how Timbuktu became an important spiritual and intellectual center of Islam

Describe the Islamic schools of Timbuktu

Understand how manuscripts were produced and used in Timbuktu