Trade Between Africa and Eurasia Changed During the Era

10 October 2016

Although key elements of the trade between Africa and Eurasia changed during the era of 300-1450, a few factors stayed the same. In 300 C. E. , trade routes were primarily between Europe and North Africa. The way that they changed by the time of 1450 was that they expanded southward and westward. By 1450, these trade routes went through West Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Indian Ocean. One factor that stayed the same during this time period was that the northern coast of Africa was always involved in the trade between Africa and the rest of Eurasia. At the start of this period in 300 C.

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E, Afro-Eurasian trade was not very sophisticated. There was some collaboration with cultures in the Mediterranean. European goods were brought to Africa and traded for African produces, some of which include spices. The partial interaction from Europe to Africa was a result of the waning of the Roman Empire. The southern part of Europe was facing complications, giving evidence to why they were not profoundly involved in trade during this time. This factor changed throughout the time period. For example, during the 800s on onward, Europe had become more stabilized.

In addition, the Islamic Empire had risen in the Middle East. With the addition of the Islamic Empire, more regions were available to trade. Because the Islamic Empire had risen, new trade routes had risen as well. Islamic traders came from the east, while merchants from Europe arrived from the north. By this point, the Europeans had different types of technologies that let them go pass the once opaque Sahara desert. Because of this advancement, a larger concentration of trade occurred. While Europe traded with Africa, Indian traders began to arrive to West Africa, as part of the Indian Ocean Trade Network.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the system of the gold-salt trade developed. In this trade, Arab and Berber traders crossed the Sahara with caravans loaded with salt. They also carried cloth, weapons, and manufactured goods from the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, African traders brought gold north. The sub-Saharan kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai became major contributors in the gold and salt trade. This continued from the 800s to the 1300s. At this point of the time period, the Mongols had expanded throughout Eurasia. However, the only parts of the trade that were ffected were the northern parts between Europe and Asia, because the Mongols concentrated on mostly China, Russia, and some parts of Eastern Europe. By the 1450s, the gold-salt trade started to decline, and soon, the center of trade started to shift away from the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. This was because the age of exploration started in Europe, and trade concentrated more towards the Atlantic Ocean. Even though these aspects describe the ways that change occurred with trade between Afro-Eurasia, one important part did stay the same.

North Africa was consistent and always a key part of trade between the continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 300, North Africa was the only area that traded with the Mediterranean. In the time of the gold-salt trade, European venders and Islamic merchants arrived in North Africa. North African merchants still traded even when Europeans started to shift the balance of trade to the Americas starting from the mid-1400s. This is how trade systems between Africa and Europe stayed the same between the years 300-1450. The changes that took place regarding trade between 300-1450 impact other parts of history.

One effect of the occurrence of trade in this region was the bubonic plague, which happened around the 1300s. It was originally brought from merchants traveling to Europe from Asia. Another effect of trade during this time is that empires rose and fell. Some of these empires include the rise and fall of the Ghana, Mali, and Songhai Empires in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, these empires rose because of expanded trade in this region as time passed, and fell because of new resources elsewhere (Mali), or because of the trade of advanced weaponry (Songhai).

Lastly, even today, Northern Africa is still one of the major players of trade in this region, even though many areas around here are experiencing political and economic problems. However, North Africa is a major of oil and other products and resources to both Europe and the United States. In conclusion, these are the changes and continuities of trade between Africa and Eurasia between the years 300-1450, and how they affect other parts of history. In addition, these events also affect life today.

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