Pre-Colonial Africa: Sudan Empires/The Trans-Saharan Trade

Sundiata: King of Mali who expanded the empire to the Atlantic Ocean will bring most important center of learning: Timbuktu- Scholars from here will teach in all parts of medieval world. The expansion of trade across the Sahara led to development of great empires and states in West Africa. Mansa Musa: Famous leader who led Mali to its heigh. Sunnl Agali: Shogai Empire military leader to Mali. Askia Muhammad: Shogai leader. Traders and middle men: Berbers very important to us, conducted trade across the Sahara. (St. Augustine, brought a lot: Christianity because of the writing of this berber. Vitally important to spread of Christianity in Byzantine: St. Gregory.) Principal group traders: Sanhaja in the west and Turareg in central and souther Sahara. 

Traders linking the surrounding regions. Trade was not the primary occupation on the nomadic groups. This is the beginning of the foundation of nation states. Earliest pack animals: Cattle. Evidence found on rock painting. The real camel became King of Desert. Desert was their environment, originally belonged to Arabia. Camel Revolutionize Trade. Just as big ocean liners revolutionized ocean trade. With camel people could withstand harsh climate of Sahara. Nomadic’s emerge to dominate trans-Sahara trade. Large long-distant trading caravans. Primary commodities traded: Important because it was used to preserve food and vitally important like gold because of demand. Date palms, goats, camels, horses, all traded. Gold was traded. Important at time because it brought currency to nation state. Trade in Sahara went as far as Byzantine via Egypt via Middle East. Lucrative, so Lucrative…

Ancient Ghana: Illustrious. Grew from agriculture and iron working activities in Empire. Foundation of many empire that comes after. Laid basis. We look at foundations, see how it emerged in response to Trans Saharan trade. 800AD empire created. No access to ocean, entirely dependent on inland trade. Saharan complex, it grew very rich. Koumbi-Saleh: Capital, located strategically between gold and salt mines. 8th Century Arab geographer Al Fazari “The territory of Ghana, the land of gold.”

Serfdom: Implies they are in relationship of senility. dependent on others, no rights, destiny chosen for them. Unfreedom, this institution existed all over the world. transformation in history to ‘could no longer redeem themselves’, groups shipped out in trans-atlantic state. Control of trade routes = Source of wealth. Led to growth of trading centers: Urbanization. Facilitated exchange of ideologies and information: Diffusion Theory, creating of Artisan class middlemen, spread Islam- known for this. move away from nomadic lifestyle when make money of trade. Preservation of trade. A bureaucracy tax traded goods, (salt&gold), bringing in more wealth. King manipulated price of gold by controlling supply. Law said: I can be the only one to own gold nuggets. Location of gold mines would be kept secret. Large armies secure trade routes. army we responsible for pacifying troubling areas. Leaidng to expansion of Ghana. If you do not protect trade and trade route you will get in trouble. Portugal lost access to trade route, British took it, decline of Portugal. Prisoners of war placed in servitude.  Loss of gold and salt spell disaster for Ghana. Go to: Grand Bazaar in Turkey.  4,000 shops fully covered. 62 streets. 20 gates. Drink tea. 


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