When I was researching the Tuaregs for my book HIS OBSESSION and then posting about North Africa and life there, the pictures of the Tuaregs looked so familiar. Their own histories related either an unknown origin or that they were descended from the Roman legions who settled in Egypt. What is for sure is that they aren’t Arabic. A couple of days after I posted the history, I remembered where I had seen similar pictures. Check out these pics of unveiled Tuareg men.
Now, check out these 1st – 3rd century portraits of mummies found at the entrance to the Fayyum oasis in Hawara at an archaeological site of Ancient Egypt. The residents here were said to have been the ancient Greeks who came with Ptolemy and mixed with local Egyptians. What do you think?
Finally, there is a facial reconstruction from a skull of one of the mummies discovered in the area. Tomorrow, Back to the Harem Rita Bay
The Republic of Bou Regreg where Emmy in my novel His Obsession was taken and sold into slavery in a pirate’s harem is located on the west coast of Morocco. The area has been settled for thousands of years – Phoenecians, Romans, Berbers (including the Tuareg like Tariq, the harem master), and later Morisco refugees fleeing persecution in Christian Spain.
In the 17th century, the small towns of Sale and Rabat united to form the Republic of Bou Regreg, named for the river that flowed between the two towns. Later, it became associated with the Ottoman Empire . (See pics of ancient & modern Sale /Rabat – including the docks where Emmy and Tariq met and the streets they would have walked to her new master’s house.)
The republic became a center for trade and supported the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, and other areas. The walled cities and the gated harbor were very useful to the pirates, providing safe harbor and a market for their captured treasures. Those treasures included plundered gold, silver, spices, silks, fabrics, and slaves which were brought back to the city-state by the pirates after raids on European shipping vessels and towns. In one decade they took 6,000 slaves and the equivalent of about $5 billion dollars in goods.
Great news!! His Obsession is officially released today. Someone has actually bought one already. Hope they like it. I have a sales history now. Click on the cover of His Obsession to read excerpts or buy.
Tomorrow, the Sallee Raiders. Rita Bay
Timbuktu City Wall
Timbuktu, an ancient city located in the western African nation of Mali at the edge of the Sahara, is a New Wonder of the World Runner-Up and a World Heritage Site. The city was founded in the 11th century by the Tuareg Imashagan. Since Timbuktu was located where the Niger flows northward into the southern edge of the desert, it became a meeting point of Songhai, Wangara, Fulani, Tuareg and Arabs. Timbuku served as a trading center between west and north Africa with gold and slaves coming from the south and salt, cloth and horses from the north.
Timbuktu, Mali, Africa
Timbuktu was also a center of learning where black and Sanhaja scholars gathered to study the vast store of books. Vast libraries were accumulated, copied, and traded. Later, the city became a center of Islamic learning with three universities and 180 Quanic schools. Leo Africanus, a historian of the 16th century wrote about Timbuktu:
There are many judges, doctors and clerics here, all receiving good salaries from King Askia Mohammed of the State of Songhay. He pays great respect to men of learning. There is a great demand for books, and more profit is made from the trade in books than from any other line of business.”
After the 14th century,Timbuktu was invaded and occupied by a series of conquerors. Many scholars fled to Mauritania taking many of their manuscripts with them. A final invasion by Moroccans destroyed much of the town and the manuscripts. Those scholars nor murdered were carried back to Marrakesh and Fes. In 1893, with the colonization of West Africa by France,Timbuktu was brought under the French rule until Mali received her independence in 1960. Today, Timbuktu a city of about 50,000 residents is impoverished and is being overtaken by the desert. Several initiatives are being undertaken to revive the historic manuscripts still kept in the city.
Tomorrow, Europabruke Rita Bay