Effects Of Trans-Sahara Trade


Trans-Sahara trade was an external trade among the early empire of Western Sudan dominated mainly by Caravan routes across the Sahara which linked the Western Sudan with north Africa. However, it is important to note that, the Trans-Sahara Trade were of great advantage to both the people involved in it in the sense that the north Africa wanted gold from Western Sudan while salt was also important to the people of West Africa.


1. The Trans-Saharan trade played very significant role in the diplomatic relations of African nations and beyond. It helped or enhanced diplomatic relations of the nations on the basis of economic development. For instance, the Saharan Berbers sold the goods they bought from the Sudan to the Arab trade of North Africa and the traders of North Africa sold them again to European and Asia. This point to the fact that pre-colonial African nation developed a unique economic diplomatic system which is worth studying.

2. Trans-Sahara trade provided an important link between the Western Sudan and North Africa facilitating the exchange of political, religious, economic, social and cultural ideas.

3. Trans-Sahara trade helped to build the comfort and splendor of large North African cities such as Carthage, Leptis, and Sabratha, back in times of Phoenician and Roman rule before about 400 AD.

4. The trade also brought wealth to both merchant and to the rulers who could tax the trade.  This wealth enabled the rulers to pay for large armies and complex systems of administration and their build large Empire.

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5. The trade also facilitated the spread of Islam with its Islamic civilization and literacy in Arabic.

6. Trans-Saharan trade introduced new political system and ideas from North Africa.



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