What are the Impacts of the Trans Saharan Trade?
Trans Saharan Trade this was the trading relation between the people of Western Sudan (Sudanic/Savannah region) and the people of North Africa passing across the Sahara desert. Camels were used as the means of transport during this trade. Societies that participated in the Trans Saharan Trade included; The Berbers of North Africa and brought them to West Africa via the Sahara desert.
The Arabs and the European stationed in the Mediterranean costs of North Africa. These supplied goods to the Berbers and Tuaregs who in turn sold them to the people of West Africa. The said Arabs and purchased the items brought from West Africa.
The West African tribes of both the Sudanic region and the forest regions to include the Mandika, Fulani, Hausa, Edo etc. these supplied items to the Berbers and Tuaregs who crossed the Sahara and purchased the items brought from North Africa. The following are the main impacts of Trans Sahara Trade:-
(a) Contributed to the formation of West African states and kingdoms, the profits that were raised from trade helped in the development of different states, these were got through the taking over charge or control over the trade routes and every one using that route had to pay tax or tributes. For example Ghana Empire conquered Audaghast in 990 A.D. in view of controlling the salt mines in that area, Mali and Songhai extended their control as far as Taghaza and Takedda for economic reasons. It is therefore true to say that trade facilitated the rise and consolidation of the different states.
(b) The spread of Islam was greatly accelerated by the Trans Saharan Trade in West and North Africa. The traders were serving two masters at a go as they were traders and also acted as teachers of Islam (evangelists) a thing that improved on the literacy rates in the region.
(c) Growth of towns and cities, due to the trade many areas which were once villages turned into towns in what is known as urbanisation. Small villages turned into large towns and cities such as Kumbi Saleh, Gao, Kano, Jenne, Timbuktu plus many others.
(d) Improvement of political administrations, the caravan trade also improved political administration of the different kingdoms through the use and employment of well educated Muslim traders who had been attracted by the trade. Many of the states were also applying the Islamic ways of administration in their different areas or jurisdiction
(e) Exploitation of natural resources, as the influx of the Whites increased, this marked the beginning of the exploitation of natural resources that were endowed in Africa. It is also believed that this was the time of unequal exchange between Africa and Europe began.
(f) Provision of constant and regular source of income, The attractive profits from trade provided constant and regular source of income for the different states. This was mainly raised from the custom duties that imposed on the imports and over goods of great political importance such as horse and the different metals that were imported into the state.
(g) Trade also provided the sources for undertaking wars of conquest and expansion through the supply of effective means of war fare, such as horses and metals that could be used in the making and designing arms as spears, arrows head and axes.