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Trans- Saharan Trade Connecting Western Africa to the Mediterranean World.

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Presentation on theme: "Trans- Saharan Trade Connecting Western Africa to the Mediterranean World."— Presentation transcript:

1 Trans- Saharan Trade Connecting Western Africa to the Mediterranean World

2 Origins of the Trans- Saharan trade  Sporadic encounters for more than 1,000 years  Initiators of trade were Berber nomads

3 What was traded?  Salt  Ivory  Slaves  Gold  Helped the spread of Islam –Muslim traders not only exchanged salt, but their religion

4 West African encounter with the Arabs  Solid market for gold in Islamic society  In eastern parts, sufficient mines  In western parts, more difficult  Arabs organized trade as they consolidated control  Very little is known about the volume during first Islamic centuries  Real boom of trade began in 10 th c.

5 Gold Trade  Major commodity- prestigous item  Standard weight system in Rome used in Africa –Arab traders are believed to have brought first scales and weights  Deposits in several different regions enriched Africa’s pre-colonial cities and kingdoms

6 Gold Trade cont’d  Actual sources of gold never told  Early methods of mining- little is known  Gold mining seen as an arduous and dangerous task –Slaves often employed to work in mineshafts, accidents very common

7 The Trans- Saharan Gold Trade (7 th to 14 th c. CE) The shaded portion indicates the empire of Mali in the fourteenth century, and the dashed lines trace the main trans-Saharan routes of the period

8 West Africans in the Mediterranean  Africans were not unfamiliar in the ancient Mediterranean  Not until Islamic period most arrived as slaves

9 Salt Trade  Probably one of the earliest goods traded  Large deposits located in Sahara and Mali  Traded salt for slaves, gold, ivory, craft goods, pepper, cola nuts, and foodstuffs  Accumulation of goods exchanged for salt promoted social stratification

10 Ivory Trade  Symbol of luxury –Used for- furniture, book covers, birdcages, broaches  All over ancient world  Most of supply from present-day Sudan  After Rome’s decline, China and India largest importers of African ivory  Ivory trade was slowed in order to preserve elephant population (late 19 th c.)

11 Slave Trade  Dates back several millennia  Slave traffickers were Muslims  Far less institutionalized than Trans- Atlantic  2/3’s of slaves exported were females- concubines or servants

12 Slave Trade cont’d  Taken from the savanna and forest zones of West Africa  Acquired through raids, warfare or tribute  Once purchased, traveled on foot and assisted with daily chores  Slave trade tapered ~1830, but then slavery abolished in 1920s through League of Nations

13 End of Trans- Saharan Trade  Collapse of Songhay empire after the Moroccan attack in 1591  Trade less profitable after –Disintegration of West African political structures –Contemporary economic decline of Northern Africa –European competition on the Guinea coast  Shift in favor of the Atlantic trade began with arrival of Portuguese ships ~1440s


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