Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Trade, Trans-Saharan: 1400 to 1900: Africa
Amos J. Beyan
The trans-Saharan trade is considered to be a commercial network that linked the Mediterranean world, including north Africa, and what the Arabs called “Bilah-al Sudan,” or “Land of Blacks,” in west Africa. Although its origin has not been precisely determined, the trade seems to have begun when a number of Phoenicians said to come from Lebanon moved to the Mediterranean coast of north Africa in search of gold, copper, and silver in 1000 B.C.E. They succeeded in developing their trading outposts into colonies that became independent of Phoenicia in about 800 B.C.E. Carthage, in modern Tunisia, became the most important Phoenician colony in Africa. The commercial and social interactions of the Berbers and the Phoenicians in north Africa led to the formation of a new social group that became known as Carthaginians. The ascendance of Carthage as a leading commercial center and the trading activities of the Carthaginians advanced the ...