African Trade Routes

African’s were among the richest of people back in the 1000’s. Effects of trade brought cities to faster than they rise. Great civilizations from Ghana to Zimbabwe both flourished but, had their tragic end. But, it provided them with a lot of things such as gold, salt slaves etc. People introduced camels to the desert in 200 a. d. Merchants primarily used them for trade to the Empires in the middle of the desert. They traded things such as gold, ivory, ostrich feathers, animal hides, and slaves.

According to document 5 “The salt trade made the city prosperous; in Africa, salt ranked with gold and slaves in value. For Merchants to risk camels over hundreds of miles of burning sand, the profits must have been enormous” (22). This means that merchants traveled to cities in the desert to make mounds of cash. This trade route was the “trans-Saharan trade’ which they used camels to travel across. Because, Of the Saharan trade routes many cities like Ghana rose and prospered.

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It also bought new crops from south and Southeast Asia such as, sugarcane, coconuts, bananas, asian rice, and vegetables. Another effect is slavery; they used slaves to break up the salt so it could be traded. Also trading had a major effect on Islam. According to document 8 “ The leaders became integrated into African societies by playing religious,social,and political roles similar to those of traditional priests”(447). This means Muslim leaders kind of move in and just sprinkled their religion around until people caught on.

And by learning this new religion it opened doors for even more trading by them eventually learning their language. Ghana soon began to fall, people who were under their control fought for the control of the lucrative trade. Mali was established in 1235 by Sundiata. Male became rich off of the Saharan trade routes. King Moses controlled Gao and Timbuktu his power extended also to the Taghaza salt mines. According to document 9 “ They put their children in chains if they show any backwardness in memorizing it, and they are not set free until they have it by heart”(304).

It basically means that the power that they had over other people also were towards their children which shows they had a lot of money. According to document 6 “The inhabitants are very rich, especially the strangers who have settled in the country; so much so that the current king has given two of the daughters in marriage of two brothers both businessmen, on account of their wealth” (112). This means that he cared so much about their money that he ensured they will never lose it.

According to document 1 “Salt is so common, so easy to obtain and so inexpensive that we have forgotten that from the beginning of civilization until about 100 years ago…” (Kurlanksy). It shows you that people that wanted salt had to pay and work endlessly until they finally got what they needed. Now all you have to do is pick it up at a store; no effort is needed. According to document 3 “Behind the King stood ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with gold. ”(45). As you can see there was a surplus of gold so they just dressed in it not all