Trans-Saharan Africa in World History

Trans-Saharan Africa in World History

by Ralph A. Austen
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA
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Trans-Saharan Africa in World History

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195157314
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 04/19/2010
Series: New Oxford World History Series
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Editors' Preface ix

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Introduction to the Sahara: From Desert Barrier to Global Highway 1

Chapter 2 Caravan Commerce and African Economies 23

Chapter 3 Ruling the Sahara and Its “Shores” 49

Chapter 4 Islam 78

Chapter 5 Islamicate Culture 98

Chapter 6 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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