Trans-Saharan Africa in World History

Trans-Saharan Africa in World History

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During the heyday of camel caravan traffic-from the eighth century CE arrival of Islam in North Africa to the early twentieth-century building of European colonial railroads that linked the Sudan with the Atlantic-the Sahara was one of the world's great commercial highways, bringing gold, slaves, and other commodities northward and sending both manufactured goods and Mediterranean culture southward into the Sudan. Historian Ralph A. Austen here tells the remarkable story of an African world that grew out of more than one thousand years of trans-Saharan trading. Perhaps the most enduring impact of this trade and the common cultural reference point of trans-Saharan Africa was Islam. Austen traces this faith in its various forms-as a legal system for regulating trade, an inspiration for reformist movements, and a vehicle of literacy and cosmopolitan knowledge. He also analyzes the impact of European overseas expansion, which marginalized trans-Saharan commerce in global terms but stimulated its local growth. Indeed, trans-Saharan culture not only adapted to colonial changes, but often thrived upon them, remaining a potent force into the twenty-first more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 15.24mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous black and white photographs and maps
  • 0195157311
  • 9780195157314

Review quote

A brief, excellent primer to introduce students to the region...A sound history for libraries...and anyone not familiar with the essentials of Saharan history. * CHOICE *show more

About Ralph A. Austen

Ralph A. Austen is Professor Emeritus of African History at the University of more

Table of contents

1. Introduction to the Sahara: From Desert Barrier to Global Highway ; 2. Caravan Commerce and African Economies ; 3. Ruling the Sahara and Its "Shores" ; 4. Islam ; 5. Islamicate Culture: Religions, Languages, Literature, and the Arts ; 6. European Colonialism: Disruption and Continuity of Trans-Saharan Linksshow more

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