Timbuctoo' (native Tumbutu, Arab. Tinbukhtu), a famous city of the Soudan, on the southern edge of the Sahara (q.v.), 8 miles N. of the main stream of the Upper Niger. It is 3 miles in circumference. The houses are mainly one-storey mud-hovels, but one of the three chief mosques is an imposing building, dating from 1325. The place stands on a trade-route between the interior and the west and south; and its importance increased through the gradual extension of the influence of the French, who in 1894 occupied the city (see Senegambia). Gold-dust, salt, kola-nuts, ivory, gums, ostrich-feathers, dates, and tobacco are exchanged for Manchester goods, mirrors, knives, tea, coral, etc. The town stands on the borders of various tribes and kingdoms - Sonrhai, Berbers, Tuaregs, Fulahs, Mandingoes, etc.; and amongst its 20,000 inhabitants all these races are represented, with Arabs, Arabised Africans, and Jews. Founded in the 11th c, Timbuctoo first became known to Europeans in the 14th (Ibn Batuta was here about 1350); till the French occupation it had been visited by but six or seven Europeans. Timbuctoo has been besung by Tennyson and Thackeray.