Article. Salt from the Sahara desert was one of the major trade goods of ancient West Africa where very little naturally occurring deposits of the mineral could be found. … The most common exchange was salt for gold dust that came from the mines of southern West Africa.
Where did salt originate from in Africa?
A human necessity and source of commerce, salt has been in high demand in West Africa since the 12th century when it was first found in the sand dunes of the desert. Its discovery gave rise to a robust commodity trade that quickly paved a near-mythical trail connecting Timbuktu with Europe, southern Africa, and Persia.
Why was salt so valuable in West Africa?
To the north lay the vast Sahara, the source of much of the salt. … People wanted gold for its beauty, but they needed salt in their diets to survive. Salt, which could be used to preserve food, also made bland food tasty. These qualities made salt very valuable.
What did West Africans need to do to get salt?
Local trade between farmers and pastoralists typically meant that many West Africa farmers could get their salt needs, eating the blood, milk products, and sometimes meat of their neighbors’ herds. (Remember that farmers who get most of their calories from grains must acquire salt from somewhere.)
Why did people in West Africa need salt?
Once cultures began relying on grain, vegetable, or boiled meat diets instead of mainly hunting and eating roasted meat, adding salt to food became an absolute necessity for maintaining life. Because the Akan lived in the forests of West Africa, they had few natural resources for salt and always needed to trade for it.
What religions existed in West Africa?
Some of the African traditional religions are those of the Serer of Senegal, the Yoruba and Igbo of Nigeria, and the Akan of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and the Bono of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Is salt more valuable than gold?
The historian explains that, going by trade documents from Venice in 1590, you could purchase a ton of salt for 33 gold ducats (ton the unit of measure, not the hyperbolic large quantity). … The fact is that it was actually salt trade that held more worth than the gold industry.
Why did Roman soldiers get paid in salt?
In Roman times, and throughout the Middle Ages, salt was a valuable commodity, also referred to as “white gold.” This high demand for salt was due to its important use in preserving food, especially meat and fish. Being so valuable, soldiers in the Roman army were sometimes paid with salt instead of money.
Why was salt so valuable in ancient times?
Prior to industrialization, it was extremely expensive and labor-intensive to harvest the mass quantities of salt necessary for food preservation and seasoning. This made salt an extremely valuable commodity. … During the Middle Ages, salt was transported along roads built especially for that purpose.
Why is Timbuktu poor today?
After a shift in trading routes, particularly after the visit by Mansa Musa around 1325, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory, and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. … Presently, Timbuktu is impoverished and suffers from desertification.
What were three major effects of Islam’s arrival in Africa?
Islam promoted trade between West Africa and the Mediterranean. The religion developed and widened the trans-Saharan Caravan trade. The trade enriched the West African and the Muslim traders. Muslims from North Africa came in their numbers and settled in the commercial centres.
Why was salt so important?
Salt plays a crucial role in maintaining human health. It is the main source of sodium and chloride ions in the human diet. Sodium is essential for nerve and muscle function and is involved in the regulation of fluids in the body. Sodium also plays a role in the body’s control of blood pressure and volume.
Where was gold found in West Africa?
The primary goldfields of the Birimian being explored in West Africa involve the Proterozoic rocks situated in the southern portion of the West African Craton. To date, the most productive gold-bearing zone within the Birimian greenstone belts has been the Ashanti belt in Ghana.
Who brought Islam to West Africa?
– Islam arrived in sub-Saharan West Africa as early as the 8th century, travelling with Arab traders from North Africa. The Muslim merchants brought trade and goods to exchange for gold and facilitated trade by introducing concepts such as contract law and credit arrangements.
Who first used salt?
Human cultivation of salt is ancient, and the earliest known salt harvesting is believed to have occurred at Lake Yuncheng, in the Chinese province of Shanxi around 6000 BC.
What was a major effect of the gold salt trade in Africa?
The gold-salt trade in Africa made Ghana a powerful empire because they controlled the trade routes and taxed traders. Control of gold-salt trade routes helped Ghana, Mali, and Songhai to become large and powerful West African kingdoms.