Trans Saharan trade routes

WHS connected with the trade routes which linked sub-Saharan Africa with the Mediterranean. These did exist in Ancient times but had their high point much later after the introduction of the Camel around 3C AD such that "regular trade routes did not develop until the beginnings of the Islamic conversion of West Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries. Two main trade routes developed. The first ran through the western desert from modern Morocco to the Niger Bend, the second from modern Tunisia to the Lake Chad area. These stretches were relatively short and had the essential network of occasional oases that established the routing as inexorably as pins in a map. Further east of the Fezzan with its trade route through the valley of Kaouar to Lake Chad, Libya was impassable due to its lack of oases and fierce sandstorms. A route from the Niger Bend to was abandoned in the 10th century due to its dangers" (Wiki) The main goods included gold and slaves going north and Salt going south. See

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Ancient ksours "These four ancient towns... were built originally to serve the caravan routes that began in the 11th century CE to cross the sahara from north to south and from east to west" (AB)
Djenné "Under Nono merchants the city quickly became a market centre and a hub in the trans-Saharan gold trade, which began in the 9th or 10th century in western Africa in answer to Muslim demand." (AB)
Ghadames "During the 7th century, Ghadames was ruled by the Muslim Arabs. The population quickly converted to Islam and Ghadames played an important role as base for the Tans-Saharan trade until the 19th century." (Wiki)
M'Zab Valley From the 14th century, the M'zab region accentuated its role as a commercial caravan hub of Saharan Africa, around products such as wool, dates, salt, coal, weapons.
Ruins of Loropéni "The gold bearing region was connected by caravans to the large commercial cites to the north on the river Niger, such as Djenné, Mopti and Timbuktu and from there across the Sahara to north Africa" (AB)
Sudanese style mosques The mosques "present highly important testimonies to the trans-Saharan trade that facilitated the expansion of Islam and Islamic culture". (Unesco)
Timbuktu Merchants from Ghadames, Awjilah, and numerous other cities of North Africa gathered there to buy gold and slaves in exchange for the Saharan salt of Taghaza and for North African cloth and horses. (Wiki)
Tomb of Askia " bears testimony to the power and riches of the empire that flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries through its control of the trans-Saharan trade, notably in salt and gold." (AB)


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Trans Saharan trade routes?

Send it to me!

A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source