The best known are Koroko, Kong and Bona, entrepots for the trade of the middle Niger, and Bontuku, on the caravan route to Sokoto and the meeting-place of the merchants from Kong and Timbuktu engaged in the kola-nut trade with Ashanti and the Gold Coast.
It is not until Kabara, the port of Timbuktu, is reached, a distance of 450 m.
He started as, before from the Gambia, reached the Niger, sailed down the river past Timbuktu, and on the eve of the successful accomplishment of his undertaking lost his life during an attack on his boat by the natives at Bussa (Nov.
In 1887 the gunboat made a more extended voyage, reaching the port of Timbuktu, and correcting the mapping of the river down to that point.
A still more important expedition was that of Lieutenant Hourst, who, starting from Timbuktu in January 1896, navigated the Niger from that point to its mouth, executing a careful survey of the river and the various obstructions to navigation.
Another region so called is that part of the Sahara washed by the Atlantic. The name is also used to designate the territory under French jurisdiction west of Timbuktu and north of the Senegal.
The Ghadamsi merchants have been known for centuries as keen and adventurous traders, and their agents are to be found in the more important places of the western and central Sudan, such as Kano, Katsena, Kanem, Bornu, Timbuktu, as well as at Ghat and Tripoli.
The name Moor is however still applied to the populations speaking Arabic who inhabit the country extending from Morocco to the Senegal, and to the Niger as far east as Timbuktu, i.e.
Rene Caillie, who started his journey to Timbuktu from Boke in 1827, did much to quicken French interest in the district, and from 1838 onward French naval officers, Bout-Willaumez and his successors, made detailed studies of the coast.
In 1352 the restless man started for Central Africa, passing by the oases of the Sahara (where the houses were built of rock-salt, as Herodotus tells, and roofed with camel skins) to Timbuktu and Gogo on the Niger, a river which he calls the Nile, believing it to flow down into Egypt, an opinion maintained by some up to the date of Lander's discovery.
When Livingstone began his work in Africa the map was virtually a blank from Kuruman to Timbuktu, and nothing but envy or ignorance can throw any doubt on the originality of his discoveries.
This company sought to open up trade with Timbuktu, then believed to be a great mart for gold, which reached the lower Gambia in considerable quantities.
From Timbuktu) the stream turns south-east and preserves that direction throughout the remainder of its course.
Below Timbuktu for a considerable distance the Niger receives no tributaries; from the north none until the region of the Sahara is passed.
The middle Niger, however, reaches its maximum near Timbuktu only in January; in February and March it sinks slowly above the narrows of Tosaye, and more rapidly below them, the level being kept up by supplies from backwaters and lakes; and by April there is a decrease of about 5 ft.
In August the channel near Timbuktu is again navigable owing to rain in the southern highlands.
Chudeau, summing up the evidence available in 1909, set forth the hypothesis that the existing upper Niger and the existing lower Niger were distinct streams. According to this theory the upper Niger, somewhat above where Timbuktu now stands, went north and north-west and emptied into the Juf, which in the beginning of the quaternary age was a salt-water lake, the remnant of an arm of the sea which in the tertiary age covered the northern Sudan and southern Sahara as far east as Bilma.
Laing (who had reached Timbuktu by way of Tripoli) obtained some accurate information concerning the sources of the river, and in 1828 the French explorer Rene Caillie went by boat from Jenne to the port of Timbuktu.
A voyage made in 1897 by Lieutenant de Chevigne showed that at low water the section between Timbuktu and Ansongo presents great difficulties, but the voyage from Timbuktu to Say was again successfully accomplished in 1899 by Captain Granderye.
After a journey into Spain he set out once more for Central Africa in 1352, and reached Timbuktu and the Niger, returning to Fez in 1353.
Below Timbuktu, the navigable reach of the middle Niger, in all 1057 m., ends.
Heinrich Barth (1851-1854) made known to Europe the course of the river from Timbuktu to Say.
The whole of the north of Africa from Egypt to Morocco has been mahommedanized, and Mahommedan influence is general and fairly strong from Timbuktu to Lake Chad and Wadai.
The Moroccan system was visited, and in some instances crossed, by various European travellers carried into slavery by the Salli rovers, and was traversed by Rene Caille in 1828 on his journey home from Timbuktu, but the first detailed exploration was made by Gerhard Rohlfs in 1861-1862.