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African studies - Essay Example

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Berbers pioneered Trans-Saharan trade that specialized in the trade of salt, clothes, metal goods in exchange of ivory, gold, and slaves. Trans-Saharan trade brought…
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Download file to see previous pages Additionally, the trade also led to the adoption of Islam religion. The encounter of West Africans with the Arabs helped Northern Africa to become a part of the Islamic influence. The Trans-Saharan region had been prepared for acceptance Islam faith in 7th century. Islam was one of the influential factors in the civilization of West Africa where Europeans had refused to penetrate due to the desert conditions. The cultural transformation entailed value for human life, novelty, and social prestige.
Powerful kingdoms arose in West Africa due to Trans-Saharan trade. Soninke of Ghana and Mandinka in Mali participated in the trade and accumulated enormous wealth (Shillington 88). Wealth gave the kingdoms the power to maintain rule and influence in the trade. However, the region was not safe and secure due to the gold and ivory trade. Kingdoms would attack each other when traversing the desert. Robbers attacked and hijacked caravans and charioteers. Additionally, kingdoms required slaves and led to a reduction of people. People fled and moved southwards to escape the mistreatment. The spread of Islam brought tension in Western Africa as traditionalist communities resisted the influence of the religion and created a balance.
The interactions between Arabs in North Africa and the trading parties from Western Sudan led to the development of infrastructures such as trade roots, monuments, and schools. According to Shillington, the development of fundamental trade centers such as Taghaza, Fezzan, Gao, Tadmeka, Wakata, and Kumbi-Saleh brought commercial and administrative organs that were responsible for trade of goods (p. 92). Communities gained gold, ivory and slaves to boost their economic power in the trade. Local leaders use forced labor to collect goods and make profits from the inferior trading communities. The economic benefits of Trans-Saharan trade were felt in Mali, Songhay and Bornu due to participation in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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