If YOU were there …
You are a trader in a caravan heading into West Africa in
about 1000. The caravan carries many goods, but the most
precious is salt. Salt is so valuable that people trade gold
for it! The gold traders never meet you face to face,
though. You wish you could talk to them to find out where
they get their gold.
Why do you think the traders are so SECRETIVE?
How was Trans-Saharan Trade
Why did people want to trade
with West Africa?
• After the Islamic Empire
captured North Africa, they
brought many camels with
• These camels enabled for the
first time Trans-Saharan Trade
(trade across the desert).
• This trade was highly desired,
because West Africa was rich
with salt and gold, and everyone
From North to South, where did
Trans-Saharan trade routes
• This long-distance trade
stretched from the BambukBure and Akan goldfields in the
South to Morocco in the North.
A Transportation Problem
How does the change in
ecological zones effect the TransSaharan trade network?
What animal can be used in the
Savanna, but not in the desert?
• As Northern Africa begins to
trade with West Africa, a
• The traders must change their
mode of transportation in the
Sahel, that ecological zone of
• Camels can only be used in the
desert, so donkeys had to be
used in the Savanna
The Growth of Cities
Where do cities begin to develop
in West Africa? Why?
Name some of the most
important trading centers in West
What is the purpose of Silent
• Cities began to grow in the Sahel
to serve as places where traders
can stop and switch modes of
• Cities like Kumbi-Saleh,
Timbuktu, Gao became major
centers of trade in the Sahel.
• Silent Barter was often used in
these cities to protect the
identities of some of the traders.
The Growth of Kingdoms
What 3 kingdoms became rich
and powerful from taxing trade?
Other than trade, how else was
the economy of West Africa
• The 3 kingdoms of Ghana, Mali,
and the Songhai taxed this
trade, and it is where they
received most of their wealth
• Their economy was also
supported by a surplus of grain
produced by the peasant
farmers (majority of the people).
The End of the Kingdoms
Who invaded West Africa?
• In 1591 Morocco led a surprise
invasion across the Sahara and
into the Songhai.
• Morocco used new firearms
(guns) to easily defeat the
• Controlling West Africa from the
other side of the Sahara proved
to be too difficult for Morocco,
and they had to withdraw.
The End of the Kingdoms
Where did the salt and gold trade
begin to shift towards?
What are the two reasons for the
decline of civilization in West
• Trade of salt and gold started to
shift to the Atlantic coast where
new European ships began to
• As a result of Morocco’s invasion
and less trade across the Sahara,
no significant kingdoms in West
Africa would emerge.
• A new form of trade does
develop, the trans-Atlantic slave