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Taghaza (also Teghaza) is an abandoned town in the desert region of northern Malimarker. Founded in the 10th century, it was once an important salt-mining centre, visited by Ibn Battuta in 1352. Slaves quarried the salt in 200 lb. blocks, which were then transported 500 miles by camel to Timbuktumarker and exchanged for gold. Taghaza produced salt throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries under Berber supervision. It was drawn into the Songhay Empire in the late 15th century. Because the area in and around Taghaza was unsuitable for farming, the inhabitants traded salt for gold from the secret mines of the Wangara and traded that gold with other nations for food and supplies.

After the town's destruction by the Moroccanmarker Judar Pasha's forces in 1591, Taoudennimarker (situated 150 km to the SE) took its place as the region's key salt producer.

At one time the "Azalai" caravan route from Timbuktu extended through Taghaza to the lands north of the Sahara on the Mediterraneanmarker Sea. Caravans with up to 10,000 camels carried gold and slaves north, returning with manufactured goods and salt from Taghaza and Taoudenni.

See Also


  1. de Villiers, Marq, and Seila Hirtle. (2007) " Space, Time, and Timbuktu". Natural History. 116:6. July/August 2007. ISSN 0028-0712


  • . Extracts are available here.
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