Africa: The Story of a Continent "Caravans of Gold" Dvd

"Caravans of Gold," part of the four-video series Africa: The Story of a Continent, traces the development of trade in medieval Africa. In the Mali and Ashanti kingdoms and along the Niger river, gold was the primary commodity.

Camel caravans enabled the exchange of gold and salt across the Sahara between these kingdoms and Jenne, Marrakech, and Cairo.

Presenter Basil Davidson discusses the importance of the precious metal to these societies and the varied effects Islam had on the development of medieval Timbuktu.

He also demonstrates the impact of African trade on the rest of the medieval world.

For example, African gold was used for European coins as Europe emerged from the poverty of the Dark Ages.

An established trading giant, the Swahili nation even presented a giraffe to China in the 1400s.

"Kings and Cities" emphasizes the growing commercial prosperity in West Africa, a result of local and long-distance trade.

Davidson studies in-depth the historic developments of the Hausa kingdoms Kano and Katsina in what is now Nigeria.

His presentation is well researched and draws information from both European travelogues and thoughtful analysis of a wide variety of African historical sources, including ceremonial sculptures and oral histories.

The result is an excellent study of medieval African history with an emphasis on West African trade.

Actors: Basil Davidson
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • Release Date: June 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
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