4. 14th century Catalan Atlas with Timbuktu and Mansa Musa

4. 14th century Catalan Atlas with Timbuktu and Mansa Musa

Regular price $ 10

This is a small section of a famous map known as the Catalan Atlas, produced in 1375. The Atlas is attributed to Abraham Cresques, a Jewish book illuminator and map-maker. The original version is housed at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. (from UC Berkeley)

Timbuktu was already a center of trade and learning before Mansa Musa arrived, but it was after he annexed the city to his empire, following his hajj to Mecca, that Timbuktu truly prospered. Musa oversaw the construction of the Djinguereber Mosque and he expanded and re-staffed the Sankore university. The latter was soon capable of hosting 25,000 students and the book collection was the largest in Africa since the library of Alexandria. 

In this excerpt of the Catalan Atlas, both Musa and TImbuktu are featured prominently. Timbuktu is just down and right from the center of the map with all lines converging on it and Musa is in the lower right holding a gold nugget. 

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