Long Distance Trade in West Africa

856 WordsApr 14, 20114 Pages
African History 18 March 2011 History of Trade Influence in West Africa Trade has played an important role in the history of the West African region. Trade shaped the region in two main ways. Trade worked as a catalyst for the rise of nearly every empire in the region from its’ earliest times to present day. Also, the growth and spread of trade routes brought in an immense amount of culture with it as well. Trade is and has been a reason for organization in all parts of the world from the days of the barter system all the way to the mass production and retail trade that we see today. It is especially important in West Africa, where control of the trade market means control of the region. By about 3000 B.C, climate change had caused…show more content…
This colonization process has in many ways paved the way for economic relations that exist today in West Africa. European colonizers made cash crops the most important part of their colonies’ markets. These cash crops, only grown to be sold, were the catalyst of this new economy whose emphasis was on exporting raw materials to be manufactured outside of West Africa. Once manufactured, they would be sold back into West Africa. This system provided European nations with cheap raw materials to fuel their newly industrialized economies. West Africa today is very much a byproduct of the colonialism that took place hundreds of years ago. Many of the countries still sell the same cash crop they grew under colonial rule and, along with trading with other nations as well, still hold strong trade relations with the European nations they were once ruled by. Trade has been the foundation for nearly every major empire we see in this area. It also brought in an immense amount of new technology as well as rich and diverse cultures. Trade has certainly shaped the region into what it is
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