Tran-Saharan Trade

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  • Topic: Sahara, Niger, Tuareg
  • Pages : 2 (683 words )
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  • Published : December 8, 2012
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The westernmost of the three central routes was the Ghadames Road, which ran from the Niger River at Gao north to Ghat and Ghadames before terminating at Tripoli. Next was the easiest of the three routes: the Garamantean Road, named after the former rulers of the land it passed through and also called the Bilma Trail. The Garamantean Road passed south of the desert near Murzuk before turning north to pass between the Alhaggar and Tibesti Mountains before reaching the oasis at Kawar. From Kawar, caravans would pass over the great sand dunes of Bilma, where rock salt was mined in great quantities for trade, before reaching the savanna north of Lake Chad. This was the shortest of the routes, and the primary exchanges were slaves and ivory from the south for salt. The western routes were the Walata Road, from the Sénégal River, and the Taghaza Trail, from the Mali River, which had their northern termini at the great trading center of Sijilmasa, situated in Morocco just north of the desert.[13] The growth of the city of Aoudaghost, founded in the 5th century BCE, was stimulated by its position at the southern end of a trans Saharan trade route.[citation needed] To the east, three ancient routes connected the south to the Mediterranean. The herdsmen of the Fezzan of Libya, known as the Garamantes, controlled these routes as early as 1500 BC. From their capital of Germa in the Wadi Ajal, the Garamantean Empire raided north to the sea and south into the Sahel. By the 4th century BC, the independent city-states of Phoenecia had expanded their control to the territory and routes once held by the Garamantes.[13] Shillington states that existing contact with the Mediterranean received added incentive with the growth of the port city of Carthage. Founded c. 800 BCE, Carthage became one terminus for West African gold, ivory, and slaves. West Africa received salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. Shillington proceeds to identify this trade route as the source for West African...
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