1517: Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, West of Africa. Captain Azlan Bashir wiped his brow, ebony skin slick with sweat. The sail of his boat, The Happy Gull, flapped in the wind. The air was hot and humid. Fish and dolphins jumped out the water along side the ship. Some sailors from Morocco had told him about the Spanish discovery of a bountiful land across the sea, an island called Hispaniola. They said it was teeming with fish. That's why Azlan had sailed out. To find more fish. Other fishermen from the other guilds had forced him out of his old zone. It was time to ... branch out. The sea changed pattern and color. It was a continental shelf. After a few hours, land slowly came into view. "Send out a search party. Let's see if we're in Spanish territory." It was discovered that it was unclaimed. There were no Spanish, no other people's. Azlan Bashir wondered if these new lands had any indigenous people. This area up the river soon blosumed into a small settlement. This settlement was formally founded in 1520 after a series of return voyages. The name of the settlement was New Timbuktu, the first expansion of the Songhai Empire outside of the continent. Built on the west bank of the Aatifa River (OTL Ashley River), the motley collection of buildings included a harbormaster, a warehouse, a bunkhouse, and a mosque for the practicing members of the crew.