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North Africa’s Place in the Mediterranean Economy of Late Antiquity
Articleby Michael Goodyear

North Africa’s Place in the Mediterranean Economy of Late Antiquity

The Mediterranean Sea was the economic focal point of the Roman Empire. Rome's armies first established an empire across these waters beginning back in the times of the Roman Republic. In 200 CE, the Mediterranean was still the channel that...
The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa

Following the conquest of North Africa by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century CE, Islam spread throughout West Africa via merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries, that is largely through peaceful means whereby African rulers either tolerated...
Swahili Coast
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Swahili Coast

The Swahili Coast, located along the shores of East Africa, was a region where, from the 8th century CE, Africans and Arabs mixed to create a unique identity, often referred to as Swahili Culture. Swahili, which is also the name of this people's...
Kingdom of Benin
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Kingdom of Benin

The Kingdom of Benin, located in the southern forests of West Africa (modern Nigeria) and formed by the Edo people, flourished from the 13th to 19th century CE. The capital, also called Benin, was the hub of a trade network exclusively controlled...
The Gold Trade of Ancient & Medieval West Africa
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Gold Trade of Ancient & Medieval West Africa

West Africa was one of the world's greatest producers of gold in the Middle Ages. Trade in the metal went back to antiquity but when the camel caravans of the Sahara linked North Africa to the savannah interior, the trade really took off...
Mali Empire
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Mali Empire

The Mali Empire (1240-1645 CE) of West Africa was founded by Sundiata Keita (r. 1230-1255 CE) following his victory over the kingdom of Sosso (c. 1180-1235 CE). Sundiata's centralised government, diplomacy and well-trained army permitted...
The Roman Empire in West Africa
Articleby Arienne King

The Roman Empire in West Africa

At its fullest extent, the Roman Empire stretched from around modern-day Aswan, Egypt at its southernmost point to Great Britain in the north but the influence of the Roman Empire went far beyond even the...
North Africa During the Classical Period
Articleby Library of Congress

North Africa During the Classical Period

Phoenician traders arrived on the North African coast around 900 B.C. and established Carthage (in present-day Tunisia) around 800 B.C. By the sixth century B.C., a Phoenician presence existed at Tipasa (east of Cherchell in Algeria). From...
Roman Expeditions in Sub-Saharan Africa
Articleby Joshua J. Mark

Roman Expeditions in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa was explored by Roman expeditions between 19 BCE - 90 CE, most likely in an effort to locate the sources of valuable trade goods and establish routes to bring them to the seaports on the coast of North Africa, thereby minimizing...
Wolof Empire
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Wolof Empire

The Wolof (aka Jolof or Djolof) Empire was a state on the coast of West Africa, located between the Senegal and Gambia rivers, which thrived from the mid-14th to mid-16th century CE. The empire prospered on trade thanks to the two rivers...