"This book tells the story of an African world that grew out of more than one thousand years of trans-Saharan trade linking the Mediterranean lands of North Africa with the internal Sudanic grasslands stretching from the Nile River to the Atlantic Ocean. It traces the early role of the Sahara, the globe's largest desert, as a divider that separated these two regions into very different worlds. During the heyday of camel caravan traffic--from the eighth-century CE Arab invasions of North Africa to the early-twentieth-century building of European colonial railroads that linked the Sudan with the Atlantic--the Sahara became one of the world's great commercial highways. The most enduring impact of this trade and the common cultural reference point of trans-Saharan Africa was Islam. This faith played various roles throughout the region, as a legal system for regulating trade, an inspiration for reformist religious-political movements, and a vehicle of literacy and cosmopolitan knowledge that inspired creativity--often of a very unorthodox kind--within the various ethno-linguistic communities of the region. From the mid-1400s, European voyages to the coast of West and Central Africa provided an alternative international trade route that marginalized trans-Saharan commerce in global terms but stimulated its accelerated local growth. Inland territorial conquest by France and Britain in the 1800s and early 1900s brought more serious disruptions. Trans-Saharan culture, however, not only adapted to these colonial and postcolonial changes but often thrived upon them to remain a living force well into the twenty-first century"--Provided by publisher.
|Author||Ralph A. Austen|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Rating||4/5 (84 users)|