Tombouctou is also the name of one of the seven areas which compose Mali and the governor of this area sits in the city of the same name.
The name Tombouctou would come from the tamasheq, language of the Touareg which would have founded city with 12th century, of Chock (or Tim ), which means “place” or “place”, and of Boutcou , name given to the woman present at the arrival of the Tuareg, guardian of a well, and which would nominate a person originating in Essouk - what gives “the place of Bouctou”. With this etymology suggested by Abderrahamne be-Saâdi at the 17th century in its Tarikh are-Sudan ( Histoire of Sudan ), the German explorer Heinrich Barth at the 19th century, gives him an origin songhaï word Tombouctou who would indicate a “depression between the dunes”. These manuscripts, from which some date from the pre-Islamic time going back to the 12th century, are preserved since centuries like secrecies of family. They for the majority are written in Arabic or Fulani, the language Peul, by scientists originating in old the Empire of Mali and contain a didactic knowledge in particular in the fields of astronomy, the music, botany… More recent manuscripts cover the fields of the right, sciences, the history (with priceless documents like the Tarikh el-Sudan of Mahmoud Kati on the history of Sudan in XVe century and the Tarikh el-Fetash of Abderahmane Es-Saad at the XVIIe century), of the religion, the trade. The Information center and of research Ahmed-Baba (Cedrab), founded in 1970 by the government with the assistance of UNESCO, collects some of these manuscripts to restore them and digitize them. So already more than 18.000 manuscripts were collected by the only center Ahmed Baba, one estimates that there would exist until 300 000 manuscripts in the whole of the zone touarègue. From 60 to 80 private libraries also exist in the city, among which the library Commémorative Mamma Haidara and the Mahmoud-Kati library. Covering the whole of the fields of knowledge, they are threatened today by difficult material conditions and especially by the traffic that it is made by it for rich person Western collectors
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