The western Sudan had animis tic and polytheistic religions.
Most people believed that the universe was created by a supreme being.
African religions recognized ancestral spirits, which they believed could seek God's blessings for the prosperity and security of their families, as long as these groups behaved appropriately.
Nature spirits were believed to live in the sky, forests, rocks, and rivers by some African religions.
The spirits control nature and had to be appeased.
Special priests with knowledge and power were needed to communicate with the spirits through sacred rituals.
The priests were the heads of the families and villages.
Each family head was responsible for ceremonies honoring the dead and living members of the family.
The spread of Islam across the Sahara created a north-south religious and cultural divide in Sudan.
When Islam reached the savanna and forest zones of West Africa, it halted.
The south has animistic religious practices.
After the introduction of trans-Saharan trade, what kinds of states and societies emerged in Africa?
The trans-Saharan trade refers to the north-south trade across the Sahara.
The impact of horses and oxen on European agriculture was comparable to that of the camel.
Camels can be used for desert transportation.
They can go for 25 miles a day, and they can live on the water they have in their stomachs.
The trans-Saharan trade brought lasting economic and social change to Africa and affected the development of world commerce.
The saddle gave the Berbers and later the region's Arabian inhabitants who controlled the caravan trade maneuverability on the animal and thus a powerful political and military advantage: they between the Mediterranean and the Sudan.
A caravan driver adjusts a salt block on his camel.
These products were exchanged for gold, ivory, gum, kola nuts, and enslaved West African men and women who were sold to Muslim slave markets.
West African society was affected by the steady growth of trans-Saharan trade.
Gold mining was stimulated by trade.
Nine tons of gold were exported by the eleventh century from parts of Sene gal to the Mediterranean coast and Europe.
Most of the metal went to Egypt.
The spices and silks were transported down the Red Sea to India to be used in Mediterranean commerce.
African gold linked the entire world, exclusive of the Western Hemisphere.
The desire for slaves was created by trade in gold and other goods.
West Africa's second most valuable export was slaves.
Slaves worked in the gold and salt mines in Muslim North Africa, southern Europe, and southwestern Asia.
African slaves seem to have been captured in war.
Research shows that large numbers of black slaves were recruited for Muslim military service through the trans-Saharan trade.
The demand for slaves remained high because of high death rates from disease, manumission, and the integration of some blacks into Muslim society.
There is a table showing the scope of the slave trade.
Slavery in Muslim societies, like in European and Asian countries before the fifteenth century, was not based on skin color.
Muslims enslaved Caucasians who had been purchased, seized in war, or kidnapped from Europe.
The Mediterranean traders settled permanently in the trading.
Gradual cities with large populations emerged.
The centers of the export-import trade were located in Timbuktu, Jenne, and Gao.
Sijilmasa grew into a market center.
The largest city in western Sudan in the 12th century was Koumbi Saleh.
Between 1100 and 1400 these cities became centers of intellectual creativity and played a role in the commercial life of West Africa and Europe.
The introduction of Islam to West African society was the most significant consequence of the trans-Saharan trade.
Arab invaders overran North Africa in the eighth century.
The Berbers were introduced to the religion of Islam and gradually became Muslims.
Islam was ried by these Berbers as a trader.
From the eleventh century onward militant Al moravids, a coalition of fundamentalist western Saharan Berbers, preached Islam to the rulers of the countries who wanted to protect their kingdoms from Muslim attacks.
Merchants tried to preserve their elite status with the Berbers by adopting Islam.
The north-south trade routes were controlled by the Muslim Berbers by the tenth century.
The rulers of Timbuktu accepted Islam in the eleventh century.
The king of Ghana was influenced by Islam.
Muslims are very important to West African government and society.