The African Trade Routes By Ryan Young

The African Trade Route was important in the African economy in 1200 C.E - 1500 C.E. The 3 main cities are Mali, Songhai and Ghana.

This is an image of how the trade route worked.

Geography was very influential. It was across the Sahara Desert, making them find different resources than in other places. Because this is the African Trade Route, they trade stories, making them live on for years to come. it goes through Timbuktu, Gao, Agoles, Ghat, Agadez, Sigilmasas and Cairo.

The main produces trade across the route was gold and salt because they were the most desirable thing at the time. They were desirable because they provided great wealth. Other not as important items are ivory, slaves, metal, beads, kola nuts and cloth.

Major trade centers were Timbuktu, Gao, Agadez, Sijilmasas, and Djenne.

Camels were the main mode of transportation and were used to carry goods and people. Sometimes slaves carried goods as well. Large caravans were important because they offered protection from bandits.

Timbuktu was one of the most important city centers in the trade route. It was an important center of learning.

This is a picture of part of Timbuktu

Timbuktu was one of the main trade locations on the trade route. It is closest to Gao on the trade route. It was the home of the Koranic Sankore University. Other places include Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia. Located at the gateway to the Sahara desert, within the confines of the fertile zone of the Sudan and in an exceptionally propitious site near to the river, Timbuktu is one of the cities of Africa whose name is the most heavily charged with history. It was an important center for the diffusion of Islamic culture with 180 Koranic schools and 25,000 students.

In 1312 Mansa Musa became emperor following the death of his predecessor, Abu-Bakr II. When he was crowned, he was given the name Mansa meaning king. Mansa Musa was knowledgeable in Arabic and was described as a Muslim traditionalist. He became the first Muslim ruler in West Africa to make the nearly four thousand mile journey to Mecca. Preparing for the expedition took years and involved the work of artisans in numerous towns and cities across Mali. In 1324 Musa began his pilgrimage with a entourage of thousands of escorts. He also brought considerable amounts of gold, some of which was distributed along the journey. Mansa Musa died in 1337 after a twenty-five year reign. He was succeeded by his son, Maghan I.

Sonni ʿAli, Sonni also spelled Sunni, also called Sonni ʿAli Ber (Arabic: ʿAlī the Great) (died 1492) West African monarch who initiated the imperial expansion of the Western Sudanese kingdom of Songhai. His conquest of the leading Sudanese trading cities established the basis for Songhai’s future prosperity and expansion.

When Sonni ʿAlī ascended the Songhai throne c. 1464, the kingdom comprised only a small area in the upper Niger valley around its capital, the prosperous trading city of Gao. Although the Songhai people had managed to throw off the domination of the Mali Empire, they also hoped to obtain territorial benefits, like other West African peoples, from the disintegration of Mali. Sonni ʿAli saw an excellent opportunity to oblige in 1468, when Muslim leaders of the city of Timbuktu (Tombouctou), formerly one of the chief cities in the empire of Mali, asked his aid in overthrowing the Tuareg, the nomadic desert Berbers who had conquered the city when Mali control declined. After Sonni ʿAli conquered Timbuktu and drove out the Tuareg, he plundered the city and murdered many of its inhabitants, presumably in retaliation for the Muslim leader’s failure to provide him with promised transport across the Niger River.

Sundiata Keita, Sundiata also spelled Sundjata or Soundiata, also called Sundiata, Mari Diata, or Mari Jata (died 1255) West African monarch who founded the western Sudanese empire of Mali. During his reign he established the territorial base of the empire and laid the foundations for its future prosperity and political unity.

Sundiata belonged to the Keita clan of the Malinke people from the small kingdom of Kangaba, near the present Mali-Guinea border. Little is known about his early life. Malinke oral traditions indicate that he was one of 12 royal brothers who were heirs to the throne of Kangaba. Sumanguru, ruler of the neighbouring state of Kaniaga, overran Kangaba at the beginning of the 13th century and murdered all of Sundiata’s brothers. According to tradition, Sundiata was spared because he was a sickly boy who already appeared to be near death.

It is believed that Sundiata was once a dugu-tigi, or headman, of one of the villages of Kangaba. He organized a private army and consolidated his position among his own people before challenging the power of Sumanguru and the neighbouring Susu people. He defeated Sumanguru decisively in the Battle of Kirina (near modern Koulikoro, Mali) about 1235 and succeeded in forcing the former tributary states of Kaniaga to recognize his suzerainty. In 1240 Sundiata seized and razed Kumbi, the former capital of the Sudanese empire of Ghana, and by this act succeeded in obliterating the last symbol of Ghana’s past imperial glory.

By 1050 A.D., Ghana was strong enough to assume control of the Islamic Berber town of Audaghost. By the end of the twelfth century, however, Ghana had lost its domination of the western Sudan gold trade. Trans-Saharan routes began to bypass Audaghost, expanding instead toward the newly opened Bure goldfield. Soso, the southern chiefdom of the Soninke, gained control of Ghana as well as the Malinke, the latter eventually liberated by Sundiata Keita, who founded the Mali empire. Mali rulers did not encourage gold producers to convert to Islam, since prospecting and production of the metal traditionally depended on a number of beliefs and magical practices that were alien to Islam. In the fourteenth century, cowrie shells were introduced from the eastern coast as local currency, but gold and salt remained the principal mediums of long-distance trade.

Pilgrimage, a journey undertaken for a religious motive. Although some pilgrims have wandered continuously with no fixed destination, pilgrims more commonly seek a specific place that has been sanctified by association with a divinity or other holy personage. The institution of pilgrimage is evident in all world religions and was also important in the pagan religions of ancient Greece and Rome. This is what Mansu Musa did to lower golds worth. Great centres of pilgrimage attract visitors from widely dispersed cultural backgrounds and geographic locations, often enabling them to commemorate the origins of their particular faith. Since the 2nd or 3rd century ce, Christians have traced the events of the Bible, including the life of Jesus Christ himself, through visits to the Holy Land. Mecca is revered by Muslims as the dwelling place of Adam after his expulsion from paradise and as the birthplace of Muhammad (570–632), the prophet of Islam. According to Hindu tradition, Varanasi (Benares) was founded at the dawn of creation and is the earthly home of Lord Shiva.


The Great Lakes are located in nine countries that surround the Great Rift Valley. As the African continent separated from Saudi Arabia, large, deep cracks were created in the Earths surface. These cracks were later filled with water. This geologic process created some of the largest and deepest lakes in the world.

There are seven major African Great Lakes: Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Kivu, Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Turkana, and Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, is the southern source of the Nile River, the longest river in the world.

Most of Africas native rain forest has been destroyed by development, agriculture, and forestry. Today, 80 percent of Africas rain forest is concentrated in central Africa, along the Congo River basin.

The Swahili Coast stretches about 1,610 kilometers (1,000 miles) along the Indian Ocean, from Somalia to Mozambique. The nearby coral reefs and barrier islands protect the coast from severe weather.

Savannas, or grasslands, cover almost half of Africa, more than 13 million square kilometers (5 million square miles). These grasslands make up most of central Africa, beginning south of the Sahara and the Sahel and ending north of the continents southern tip.

The Ethiopian Highlands began to rise 75 million years ago, as magma from Earths mantle uplifted a broad dome of ancient rock. This dome was later split as Africas continental crust pulled apart, creating the Great Rift Valley system. Today, this valley cuts through the Ethiopian Highlands from the southwest to the northeast. The Ethiopian Highlands are home to 80 percent of Africas tallest mountains.

The Sahel is a narrow band of semi-arid land that forms a transition zone between the Sahara to the north and the savannas to the south. It is made up of flat, barren plains that stretch roughly 5,400 kilometers (3,300 miles) across Africa, from Senegal to Sudan.

The Sahara is the worlds largest hot desert, covering 8.5 million square kilometers (3.3 million square miles), about the size of the South American country of Brazil. Defining Africas northern bulge, the Sahara makes up 25 percent of the continent.

The region of Southern Africa is dominated by the Kaapvaal craton, a shelf of bedrock that is more than 2.6 billion years old. Rocky features of Southern Africa include plateaus and mountains, such as the Drakensberg range.

Supply and Demand: the amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price. (used online definition)

The supply and demand depended on how much an area had something and how much an area wanted something

Africa 1200

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