<p>Since the 12th century, when Tuareg tribes founded Timbuktu as a seasonal camp on the southern edge of the Sahara, the city has seen waves of conquerors come and go. In April, Tuareg rebels and Islamist factions affiliated with al Qaeda seized control of northern Mali, including Timbuktu.</p><p><a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121207-timbuktu-mali-al-qaeda-world-politics-cultures/">(Read more about Timbuktu's change of power.)</a></p>

Timbuktu

Since the 12th century, when Tuareg tribes founded Timbuktu as a seasonal camp on the southern edge of the Sahara, the city has seen waves of conquerors come and go. In April, Tuareg rebels and Islamist factions affiliated with al Qaeda seized control of northern Mali, including Timbuktu.

(Read more about Timbuktu's change of power.)

Photograph by Brent Stirton, Getty Images/National Geographic

Timbuktu Pictures: Before and After al Qaeda

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