“Timbuktu is a town inhabited by people of various races, but the greater part is made up of Whites, such as Arabs; they are subject to the king of Gao. This town is the entrepot for all goods in transit from the kingdom of Morocco to the kingdom of Gao. The king Mulay Ahmad has a fortress in the province of Lektaoua where everything was exchanged against gold dust that came from these kingdoms. From Timbuktu a Moorish qa id, a renegade, and an Andalusian were sent to Marrakesh with news of what happened during the expedition.”
“They arrived on 1 June of the present year 1591. Great celebrations were held to mark this happy success. But the king, although proud to be the first king of Morocco to have carried his victorious arms as far as Guinea, felt much resentment at Jawdar’s having withdrawn from Gao without having first constructed a fortress, as he had orders to do; or rather that, having withdraw, he had done so without having previously taken some good hostages from the black king as surety for his carrying out his promises. But in fact, it is within his power to do so or not to do so.”
“It is said that two months journey from Gao, in the interior lands, there is another kingdom of the Blacks that is called Bornu, whose king is very powerful. The Turks, having marched by way of Egypt to conquer this kingdom suffered so much from thirst while crossing the sandy deserts, that when attacked by the king of Bornu in this exigency, they could not defend themselves because of their thirst, and were beaten. Some who survived received such good treatment from the king that they remained in his service.”
“Through the industry of these individuals, and with the arms they took off the others, he has armed about five hundred musketeers, who, together with the numerous troops of his kingdom, make him very formidable in these regions of Guinea. It has been learned that this kingdom borders on some kingdoms of black Christians, who have been recently converted by the Portuguese during the discoveries they have made in Guinea. The judgment made about this expedition by natives of the kingdom of Morocco who have experience of these regions is as follows.”
“There are various opinions about this expedition. Some think it is very advantageous for the king of Morocco, because besides the glory he gets from carrying his victorious arms into Guinea–something none of his predecessors dared do because of the difficulty of the route, the length of the journey and lack of water they think he will get a lot of gold from this conquest, by means of which he will enhance his greatness.”
Source: Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Saʻdī’s Taʼrīkh Al-Sūdān Down to 1613 By ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAbd Allāh al- Saʿdī…
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