Trans-Saharan Trade

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Trans-Saharan Trade

Eric J. Robledo

History111
Heather Thornton
August 12, 2012

Trans-Saharan Trade

During the eighth century until the late sixteenth century, one trade route captivated everyone involved from the Mediterranean to the Africa’s. The route, which not only attracted traders, did much more than just trade. This route not only was an economical boost for everyone, but it also connected the West African people with the Mediterranean people as well. By opening up a new world for both people to trade for goods that brought them riches, it was the African goods such as Ivory and gold that sought many people to start trading on these routes. The Trans-Saharan Trade was a very important trade route that ran across the Sahara between the Mediterranean countries and West Africa. In early Trans-Saharan trade, small trade routes around the Nile Valley were being utilized throughout the millennia, while travels across the Sahara prior to the domestication of the camel were difficult. Camels were preferred method of travel due to the fact that they could travel without food or water for weeks. When camels were introduced to the trade aspect, the trades were conducted by caravans of camels that were able to carry up to five hundred pounds and as far as twenty-five miles a day and were able to go days without drinking water. The average size was a thousand camels per caravan, but had been as many as twelve thousand. Camels proved more efficient for desert transportation than horses or oxen, and the use of this beast to carry heavy and bulky freight not only brought economic and social change to Africa but also affected the development of world commerce. The survival of a caravan would be precarious and rely on careful coordination. Runners would be sent ahead to oasis so that water could be shipped out to the caravan when it was still several days away, as the caravans could not carry enough with them to make the full journey. Although the...
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