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 did the salt come from in Africa?
South Africa, Namibia (Photo 1) and Botswana are the main sources of salt in southern Africa. The main sources and the flow pattern of salt across Sub-Saharan Africa are shown in Figure 1. This prompts the development of a regional strategy to ensure that salt is iodized at the production sources.
Where were many of the sources of salt found in West Africa?
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.
Which region of Africa contains salt?
Ergs cover most of Algeria and Libya and parts of Mali and Nigeria. Ergs can contain large quantities of salt, which is sold for industrial and food use.
What region did West Africans obtain their salt from?
In addition, the Sahara was realized as a source of salt itself; giant slabs could be mined in the desert and sold to West Africans for generous profits, i.e., exchanged for gold. The unfree laborers who extracted the salt slabs were fed by imported food.
Why was salt so valuable in 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.
Why did people in West Africa need salt?
West Africans also needed salt to keep their food from spoiling and to give to their cattle. In addition, people liked the taste. West Africans had no local source of salt. They had to obtain it from Taghaza and other places in the Sahara.
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.
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.
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 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.
How many countries does Africa have?
There are 54 countries in Africa today, according to the United Nations.
Which country in Africa has the highest mineral resources?
Available Resources in West Africa
West Africa is known for its richness in Mineral Resources with Nigeria being one of the richest in terms of these resources.
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 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.
Where did gold originate in Africa?
South Africa is famous for its rich deposits of gold, the vast majority of which come from the Witwatersrand Basin, an underground geological formation believed to have once been the floor of a prehistoric sea where rivers deposited their sediments, forming gold and other minerals.