Trans-Saharan Africa in World History [NOOK Book]

Overview

"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

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Trans-Saharan Africa in World History

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Overview

"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 century"--Provided by publisher.

"This book tells the story of an African world that grew out of more than one thousand years of trans-Saharan trade linking the Mediterranean lands of North Africa with the internal Sudanic grasslands stretching from the Nile River to the Atlantic Ocean. It traces the early role of the Sahara, the globe's largest desert, as a divider that separated these two regions into very different worlds. During the heyday of camel caravan traffic--from the eighth-century CE Arab invasions of North Africa to the early-twentieth-century building of European colonial railroads that linked the Sudan with the Atlantic--the Sahara became one of the world's great commercial highways. The most enduring impact of this trade and the common cultural reference point of trans-Saharan Africa was Islam. This faith played various roles throughout the region, as a legal system for regulating trade, an inspiration for reformist religious-political movements, and a vehicle of literacy and cosmopolitan knowledge that inspired creativity--often of a very unorthodox kind--within the various ethno-linguistic communities of the region. From the mid-1400s, European voyages to the coast of West and Central Africa provided an alternative international trade route that marginalized trans-Saharan commerce in global terms but stimulated its accelerated local growth. Inland territorial conquest by France and Britain in the 1800s and early 1900s brought more serious disruptions. Trans-Saharan culture, however, not only adapted to these colonial and postcolonial changes but often thrived upon them to remain a living force well into the twenty-first century"--Provided by publisher.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199798834
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/22/2010
  • Series: New Oxford World History
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,049,550
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction to the Sahara : from desert to barrier to global highway 1

Ch. 2 Caravan commerce and African economies 23

Ch. 3 Ruling the Sahara and its "shores" 49

Ch. 4 Islam 78

Ch. 5 European colonialism : disruption and continuity of trans-Saharan links 118

Chronology 139

Notes 141

Further reading 145

Websites 147

Acknowledgments 149

Index 151

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