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.
How was salt mined in Africa?
The salt was dug from the ground and cut into thick slabs, two of which were loaded onto each camel. The salt was taken south across the desert to Oualata and sold. The value of the salt was chiefly determined by the transport costs.
Why is salt so valuable in 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.
What region did West Africans obtain their salt from?
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.
Why was there salt to be mined in North Africa?
Once cultures began relying on grain, vegetable, or boiled meat diets instead of mainly hunting and eating roasted meat, adding salt to food became an absolute necessity for maintaining life. Because the Akan lived in the forests of West Africa, they had few natural resources for salt and always needed to trade for it.
When was salt more valuable than gold?
Recorded history also soundly refutes the myth that salt was more valuable than gold. YouTube historian Lindybeige cites Venetian trade documents from the height of the salt trade in 1590 that establish the value of 1 ton of salt as 33 gold ducats.
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.
Is salt better than gold?
But one of the most ridiculous lies perpetuated about this humble mineral is that in ye olden days, salt was more valuable than gold due to its function in food preservation. … Similar figures exist from ancient Egypt showing that, no, salt was never worth more than gold.
Why did Roman soldiers get paid in salt?
In Roman times, and throughout the Middle Ages, salt was a valuable commodity, also referred to as “white gold.” This high demand for salt was due to its important use in preserving food, especially meat and fish. Being so valuable, soldiers in the Roman army were sometimes paid with salt instead of money.
Why is Timbuktu poor today?
After a shift in trading routes, particularly after the visit by Mansa Musa around 1325, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory, and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. … Presently, Timbuktu is impoverished and suffers from desertification.
Why did people in West Africa need salt?
West Africans also needed salt to keep their food from spoiling and to give to their cattle. In addition, people liked the taste. West Africans had no local source of salt. They had to obtain it from Taghaza and other places in the Sahara.
What religions existed in West Africa?
Some of the African traditional religions are those of the Serer of Senegal, the Yoruba and Igbo of Nigeria, and the Akan of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and the Bono of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
What kind of historical source is Salt?
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. Salt beds may be up to 350 m thick and underlie broad areas.
How did they get salt in the old days?
Colonial Americans were making salt by boiling brine in iron kettles during the time that the U.S. Constitution was being drafted. By the time of the Civil War, thousands of workers were producing over 225,000 short tons of salt by boiling.
What was a major effect of the gold salt trade in Africa?
The gold-salt trade in Africa made Ghana a powerful empire because they controlled the trade routes and taxed traders. Control of gold-salt trade routes helped Ghana, Mali, and Songhai to become large and powerful West African kingdoms.
Why was salt so valuable in ancient times?
Prior to industrialization, it was extremely expensive and labor-intensive to harvest the mass quantities of salt necessary for food preservation and seasoning. This made salt an extremely valuable commodity. … During the Middle Ages, salt was transported along roads built especially for that purpose.