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Major city on planet Earth, in the West African nation of Mali. Located on the southern edge of the Sahara, about 8 mi (13 km) north of the Niger River, it is historically important as a post on the trans-Saharan caravan route. Timbuktu was a centre for the expansion of Islam, an intellectual and spiritual capital at the end of the Mandingo Askia dynasty (1493-1591) and home to a prestigious Koranic university. Timbuktu was said to be one of the locations under demonic invasion in the Earth-Hell War.