Gold-Salt Trade - Saharan Trade

Gold-Salt Trade - Saharan Trade

West African Kingdoms Ghana Mali Songhai Ghana New Trade Center first trading empire traded gold for salt with Europeans Capital Koumbi--Ghana's capital-wealthy trade center

most traders were Muslims and Soninke New Religion Islamic influences in West Africa Mandinke--first convert to Islam Fallen Empire Conquered by Al Moravids--Muslim invaders Ghana replaced by Malin as major West African power Nakori Mosque in Ghana

Mali Economy based on trade Mansa Musa -- Mali's greatest emperor devout Muslim his pilgrimages helped put Mali on the map Songhai C. Songhai took control of Mali Gao -- capital city Sunni Ali -- King

became powerful trading empire Songhai collapse falls to Morocco first use of firearms against Africans Last great trading empire Rendering of West African Gold Merchants Using Weights and Measurements: Gold-Salt Trade Saharan Trade

Saharan Trade and the Empire of Ghana In their book A Glorious Age in Africa, authors Daniel Chu and Elliot Skinner state that the "lifeblood of the [Ghana] empire was trade." Therefore, the Saharan trade routes were instrumental to the empire's success. Merchants carrying foodstuffs to the kingdom would trade them for locally produced goods such as cotton cloth, metal ornaments, leather goods, and above all GOLD.

Saharan Trade during the Mali Empire Despite the change in political control of West Africa due to the fall of the Ghana Empire and the rise of the Islamic Mali Empire in 1235, control of the gold-salt trade remained the economic lifeline of the region. Merchants established a second major gold-salt trade route northeast across the Sahara that passed through Tunis, and Cairo, and ended in Egypt's interior. This route complimented the traditional Western Sudan-Maghreb--Europe trade route. As the second trade route grew in popularity, Egypt's influence on the Western Sudan grew as well.

While the kings of the Ghana Empire restricted gold's availablilty during their reigns, the rulers of Mali did not. In fact, Mansa Musa, the most famous ruler of the Mali Empire, spent and gave so much gold during his celebrated hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) in 1324 that he severely lowered the value of the precious metal in Egypt . The Songhai Empire and TransSaharan Trade When the Songhai people, under the leadership of Sunni Ali Kolon rose up to challenge the Mali Empire in the late 1400s, they understood the importance of controlling the

trade centers of the Empire. The songhai captured Timbuktu, a center of education and trade very well known outside of Western Africa, as well as Jenne, a beautiful city located in the backwaters of a tributary of the Niger River that was also a trade and learning center. Gao, a city that had started to grow in importance during the Mali empire, continued to grow in population and in importance as a market center. In addition, the copper mining town of Takedda, located on the eastern transSaharan trading route, contributed to the songhai empire's financial growth. Finally, during Sunni Ali's reign (late 1400s), trade along the eastern trans-Saharan

route created during the Mali empire reached a peak. http://www.learner.org/courses/ worldhistory/unit_main_9.html 10:29-16:49

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