THE TRANS-SAHARA TRADE; THE COMING OF ISLAM AND ITS EFFECT ON BORNO AND HAUSA STATES.
The factors that were responsible for the development of the Trans-Sahara trade were related to Islam in one way or the other. Such factors are:
- There was an introduction of the camel to North Africa as a means of transportation and that extended the expanse of the desert area.
- The existence of centralized state systems in the northern part of the country and other parts of West Africa.
- The demand for Gold in the Muslim countries and Europe’s strong stand on such a request.
- The extension of Islamic rulers and the performances of pilgrimages to Mecca also helped in the expansion of the Trans-Saharan trade.
How the Trade Was Organized and Operated
The distance and the duration of the journey across the Sahara was a very hard and difficult one.
Hence, it lasted for days depending on the route through which the journey was made. At times, people spent about 73 to 90 days along the desert and it was difficult for the traders with little money to embark on.
Again, the Caravan trade (which was a very hazardous enterprise) posed the most important to the economy of the tropical forest Northern Africa.
Moreover; most of the existing companies had their branches in different parts of North Africa. And those companies obtained their money from the Europeans and Jews respectively.
Furthermore, the knowledge of the localities, the customs and requirements on the side of the agents were added advantages. However; the trade was earned out through different routes as follows:
- Ghana to Magado and Fez via Awdaghast.
- Kano to Tunis and Tripoli via Wargla.
- Timbuktu to Tunis and Tripoli through Wargla, among other routes.
There was no single route as far as the Trans-Sahara trade was concerned. The apogee of the Trans-Saharan trade was between the periods of the 14th and 16th centuries.