Quick Answer: Did West Africa have salt?

Salt from the Sahara desert was one of the major trade goods of ancient West Africa where very little naturally occurring deposits of the mineral could be found. … Indeed, salt was such a precious commodity that it was quite literally worth its weight in gold in some parts of West Africa.

Did West Africa need salt?

Salt was used to preserve and flavor food. It was especially important in West Africa as people needed extra salt to replace what their bodies lost in the hot climate. Through trade in gold and salt, Ghana reached the height of its power in the 800s C.E. and 900s C.E.

Was salt found in West Africa?

A human necessity and source of commerce, salt has been in high demand in West Africa since the 12th century when it was first found in the sand dunes of the desert. Its discovery gave rise to a robust commodity trade that quickly paved a near-mythical trail connecting Timbuktu with Europe, southern Africa, and Persia.

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Why was salt so valuable in West Africa?

People wanted gold for its beauty, but they needed salt in their diets to survive. Salt, which could be used to preserve food, also made bland food tasty. These qualities made salt very valuable. In fact, Africans sometimes cut up slabs of salt and used the pieces as money.

Where did salt come from in Africa?

South Africa, Namibia (Photo 1) and Botswana are the main sources of salt in southern Africa. The main sources and the flow pattern of salt across Sub-Saharan Africa are shown in Figure 1. This prompts the development of a regional strategy to ensure that salt is iodized at the production sources.

How salt is made in West Africa?

Salt in West Africa. … People on the coast could harvest sea salt (giant saltworks existed at least from the seventh century CE [600s] in Benin), through a similar strategy: building “traps” for oceanic waves that would then evaporate, leaving salt behind.

What was salt used for in West Africa?

Salt was used to preserve and flavor food. It was especially important in West Africa as people needed extra salt to replace what their bodies lost in the hot climate. Through trade in gold and salt, Ghana reached the height of its power in the 800s C.E. and 900s C.E.

Who mined the salt in ancient times?

In the Ancient Roman Empire

Humans made salt ponds on the edge of the Mediterranean and mined it in the Alps. For salt production, the Romans were not inventive, but they borrowed any useful techniques from the peoples they conquered. Romans salted their fresh foods typically in two ways.

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Where are the salt mines in Africa?

The salt mines located in Lake Afar, which forms part of the depression, stretch some 60,000 square kilometers and go up to 300 feet below sea level. It is in this sun-baked crust that the salt trade has thrived, passed over from generation to generation for centuries. At one time salt was a form of currency.

Where is salt originally from?

Salt comes from two main sources: sea water and the sodium chloride mineral halite (also known as rock salt). Rock salt occurs in vast beds of sedimentary evaporite minerals that result from the drying up of enclosed lakes, playas, and seas.

Why is salt more valuable than gold?

So salt was valuable because it was useful and could prevent you from starving in winter, but was far, far less costly than gold. It was imported from places closer to the sea by the ton in Roman times – in comparison the usual Roman coin was silver, because gold was too costly for everyday buying and selling.

Why was gold important in West Africa?

The Islamic North African empires of the medieval period had an insatiable demand for gold because it was needed not only for making precious manufactured goods (e.g. jewellery, vessels, embroidered clothing and illuminated manuscripts) but also to mint coinage to pay armies.

What was the gold salt trade in Africa?

What does gold salt trade mean? Gold from Mali and other West African states was traded north to the Mediterranean, in exchange for luxury goods and, ultimately, salt from the desert. The merchants for these routes were often Berbers, who had extensive knowledge of how to navigate through the desert.

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Who mined for salt in ancient Africa?

The answer came from the nomads of the desert, the Berber people, who had long been crossing this route. With time, the Berbers would connect these two different spheres of Africa. However, they did not arrive as mere middlemen. The Berbers had access to some of the great salt deposits of the ancient world.

How is salt made in Nigeria?

In spite of the abundance of the sources of salt in the country, the processing of the commodity is still done locally by rural dwellers. Salt is obtained from two sources: rock salt and brine. … Large deposits of rock salt are found in Nigeria. Brine is water containing a high concentration of salt.

Where did gold originate in Africa?

South Africa is famous for its rich deposits of gold, the vast majority of which come from the Witwatersrand Basin, an underground geological formation believed to have once been the floor of a prehistoric sea where rivers deposited their sediments, forming gold and other minerals.