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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...
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...
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 borders of its provinces as a result...
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...
Swahili Coast
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Swahili Coast

The Swahili Coast on the shores of East Africa was a region where Africans and Arabs mixed to create a unique identity from the 8th century called Swahili Culture. Swahili is the name of their language and means 'people of the coast.' The...
Caesarea (North Africa)
Definitionby Donald L. Wasson

Caesarea (North Africa)

Caesarea was actually the name of three separate cities: one in Palestine, one in Cappadocia (Asia Minor), and one in Mauretania, present-day Algeria. The first city, Caesarea Palestinae, was built by Herod around 25 BCE and, like the other...
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 Portuguese in East Africa
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Portuguese in East Africa

The Portuguese first took an interest in East Africa from the beginning of the 16th century as their empire spread eastwards across the Indian Ocean. Trade in the region was already well-established and carried out by Africans, Indians, and...
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