Most of Timbuktu’s Vast Collection of African History Was Not Lost

old_door-220x305When a radical Islamist faction fled the city of Timbuktu as French forces descended on the city late last month, the new library at the Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research was set on fire.

The institute’s library collection included approximately 30,000 volumes, many of which are one-of-kind manuscripts some dating back 700 years. Some of the volumes were from the 15th and 16th centuries when Timbuktu was the intellectual center of western Africa. Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, had called the collection one of Africa’s “most important cultural treasures.”

At first it was feared that a large portion of the historical collection was lost. But when the radical Islamist faction first came to Timbuktu, some of the manuscripts had been moved to the capital in Bamako. Only about 2,000 documents were in the library at the time of the file and many of these were later found safe, locked in a basement room.

It is now estimated that only about 5 percent of the total collection was lost and many of these documents had been digitized.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Central State University to Merge Two Colleges to Optimize Resources and Efficiency

The primary goal of the merger is to improve operational efficiency, support increased enrollment, and optimize resources. Notably, the focus on operational streamlining does not include any plans for staff or faculty layoffs.

Four Black Scholars Selected for Dean Positions

The dean appointments are Chukwuka Onwumechili at Howard University, Myra Bozeman at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, Joan Tilghman at Coppin State University in Baltimore, and Omolola Eniola-Adefeso at the University of Illinois.

Voorhees University Launches Its First Doctor of Education Degree Program

The new doctor of education in leadership program will offer two specialized tracks for students, preparing them to become successful leaders in their chosen educational field. Students can choose to focus their studies on either PK-12 education or higher education administration.

Fielding Graduate University Honors Ronald Mason for Lifetime Achievements in HBCU Leadership

Ronald Mason has served as president of three HBCUs: Jackson State University, Southern University and A&M College, and the University of the District of Columbia, where he was the longest tenured president in the university's history.

Featured Jobs