West African Trade By: Gavin Funk P1

Trade Routes

The trade routes stretched all throughout West Africa. They reached places such as Chad, Niger, and Baghdad.

Locations Connected By Trade

Many places were connected by trade routes, such as Baghdad, Constantinople (Istanbul), the Mali Empire, the Ghana Empire, and the Songhai Empire.

Trade Goods

Numerous items were traded among the African trade routes, such as horses, dates, spices, tools, and food, but the main commodities that were bartered for were gold and salt.

Gold vs. Salt

Gold and salt were equal in price, ounce for ounce. This was because gold was needed for the supply and creation of the coins used as currency in many countries. Salt was also extremely valuable. It was necessary in a person's diet, and had many uses such as dyeing cloth.


The dominant mode of transportation in African trade were camels. This was because they could go up to two weeks without water, making them ideal for desert travel, and they can carry up to 1,000 pounds on their back for 6 to 7 hours straight. Their strength and stamina allowed them to carry goods for very long distances.


Geography affected cultural diffusion among the Western African Empires in many ways. First, the Sahara Desert most likely would hinder trade and cultural diffusion, as it takes a long time to cross and many people could die while attempting to cross it. While the desert hinders trade, rivers would help it. The rivers, such as the Niger River, would help people trade and bring new ideas and inventions to other places. That is how geography would affect cultural diffusion.

Price of Goods

The price of all goods were always determined by the supply and demand of the goods. For example, if in one area of an empire, spices were in high demand, the price would rise, too. Demand is always in a direct correlation with supply.


"Camel Facts." Camel Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2017

Author: Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. "The Trans-Saharan Gold Trade (Seventh–Fourteenth Centuries) | Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.

"History Of Salt." History of Salt | SaltWorks®. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.


Created with images by xisdom - "caravan desert safari" • Unsplash - "landscape desert nature"

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