All scholars of West Africa are aware of the seminal 1913 publication of Houdas and Delafosse’s La chronique du chercheur. The two French scholars made available the Arabic text and the French translation of what they believed to be a sixteenth-century chronicle, titled Tārīkh al-fattāsh and written by the Timbuktu based scholar Maḥmūd Ka‘ti (d. 1593). However, La chronique du chercheur is an invention of Houdas and Delafosse. This edition does not correspond to any West African chronicle and in fact “traps” in one, conflated text two chronicles: the seventeenth century Tārīkh Ibn al-Mukhtār – or the chronicle of “the son of al-Mukhtār”; and the Tārīkh al-fattāsh, written by Nūḥ b. al-Ṭāhir but apocryphally ascribed to the sixteenth-century and to Maḥmūd Ka‘ti. In this paper, I disentangle the two chronicles and provide a preliminary analysis of their content and the impact that their study as individual texts has on our knowledge of the history of West Africa in two crucial periods: the seventeenth-century, which marks the end of the so-called West African Empires; and the nineteenth-century, which witnessed the raise of Islamic theocracies in different parts of the region.