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.
Where were many of the sources of salt found in West Africa?
Taghaza (also Teghaza) is an abandoned salt-mining centre located in a salt pan in the desert region of northern Mali. It was an important source of rock salt for West Africa up to the end of the 16th century when it was abandoned and replaced by the salt-pan at Taoudenni which lies 150 km (93 mi) to the southeast.
Why was salt 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.
Where is salt found in Africa?
South Africa, Namibia (Photo 1) and Botswana are the main sources of salt in southern Africa.
What was salt used for in Africa during the Ghana Empire?
Much of the salt was mined in the Sahara Desert at the city of Taghaza where slaves were used to mine salt. Salt was sometimes used as money and was about as valuable as gold.
Who first converted to Islam in West Africa?
First, Islam spread into the regions West of the Niger Bend (Senegambia, Mali), then into Chad region and finally into Hausaland. According to some Arabic sources the first Black ruler to embrace Islam was the King of Gao who had done so by 1009.
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.
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.
Why was salt worth its weight in gold in West Africa?
Salt was necessary for maintaining life, but it was in short supply in the forests of West Africa. Salt became worth its weight in gold. And since gold was so abundant Abundant (adjective) : existing or available in large quantities 7 in the kingdom, Ghana achieved much of its wealth through trade with the Arabs.
How did Islam spread in West Africa?
Following the conquest of North Africa by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century CE, Islam spread throughout West Africa via merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries, that is largely through peaceful means whereby African rulers either tolerated the religion or converted to it themselves.
Why is African salt more valuable than gold?
But one of the most ridiculous lies perpetuated about this humble mineral is that in ye olden days, salt was more valuable than gold due to its function in food preservation. … Those enormous markups suggest that at one point in time the salt trade was probably more valuable than the gold industry.
Why was gold and salt important in Africa?
The people who lived in the desert of North Africa could easily mine salt, but not gold. … They craved the precious metal that would add so much to their personal splendor and prestige. These mutual needs led to the establishment of long-distance trade routes that connected very different cultures.
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 animal was most important to trade in West Africa Why?
Camels were the main mode of transportation and were used to carry goods and people. The camel was the most important part of the caravan. Without the camel, trade across the Sahara would have been impossible. Camels are uniquely adapted to survive long periods without water.
Who was the first king of Africa?
Sundiata Keita was the first ruler of the Mali Empire in the 13th century C.E. He laid the foundation for a powerful and wealthy African empire and proclaimed the first charter of human rights, the Manden Charter.
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.