Post Classical Civilizations: The Gold-Salt Trade
The African Kingdoms • Anthropologists believe that humanity first arose in East Africa. • Kush was an early iron-producing center which grew rich from selling iron wares, ivory, ebony, wood, and slaves. • Later, the Kingdom of Ethiopia adopted its own form of Christianity
The Gold-Salt Trade • The Sahara Desert occupies much of North Africa. • The savanna is just below the desert and stretches almost the entire width of Africa. • The Sahara acted as a barrier that separated people of Sub-Saharan Africa from the Mediterranean world and the rest of Eurasia. • Trade across the Sahara was never cut off completely.
The Gold-Salt Trade • The Sahara contains oases and underground springs. • Since camels could go days without water, merchants could cross the desert once they knew where the oases were located. • These merchants were motivated by the gold and other riches they could trade with West Africa.
The Gold-Salt Trade • At the same time, part of West Africa lacked salt, which is vital to human survival. • Merchants would pick up large blocks of salt to trade for gold. • The gold-salt trade developed a thriving trade network. • Ideas, such as Islamic beliefs, were exchanged as well.