West Africa, Islam, and its effects on Modern World Economic Basis
West Africa played a significant role in trade and greatly influenced history. This means that Islam was widespread in West Africa and this kind of influence that enabled it, as a religion to influence the global trade (Form, 2012). This role is further made significant as it created the economic basis for the modern world. The correlation between West Africa, Islam, and trade in the modern world can be assessed in based on the need of new materials and a gap for knowledge in other places from this area, which was central to other markets such as America, Europe, Asia, and other African countries. In addition, it has triggered the modern world economic basis by making it vital for countries to adopt trade systems with imports and exports but with a monetary system.
The need for materials made people travel in different areas while looking to find goods and services. The nature of goods and services varied, and that showed why the traders needed to find a central location in which they could locate different markets. West Africa provided a location in which the locals could easily access materials. For instance, the Mali Empire was spread across northern Africa, and that meant it was easier to conduct trade (Form, 2012). This was because the trade was organized by specific tribes that always travelled to different market points to find a market for their goods. Seeing that the Mali Empire covered a big part of Northern Africa, it made the area open to trade by different people. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
This increased interaction between people due to trade increased the spread of Islam among people within this area. In some countries, many traders were Muslims and took advantage of the fact that they could interact with other tribes of Africa and the world and convert them to the religion as well. Trade always brings together people of different culture, and that meant creating a bigger audience for Islam.
Islam created a factor through which a large number of people familiarized, and that gave rise to an empire. Conducting trade in an empire is relatively simpler than having a group of tribes freely engaging in trade. This made the area a favorite for the world during the Trans-Atlantic Trade. This would explain why the area managed to have very big empires. These empires became specialized in trade, and that attracted different markets. For instance, the slave trade was a common factor for West Africa with majority of the slaves being shipped to work in American cotton farms. It would be important to note that Muslims were the primary target for slavery dealers (Ahmed, 2016). This came at a time when Islam had been eradicated by the Crusades in Europe, and they were considered as Moors. Even though the slaves could be divided into Africans and Muslim slaves, many West Africans had been converted to Islam and that made it a factor that affected many Moors. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
The Portuguese were most active in the slave trade and often traded items such as crude arms, horses, Andalusia silk in exchange for gold ivory and slaves. This critically shows that the trade was mainly barter with both parties providing what they had in exchange for what they need. Even though the Portuguese exchanged for items such as African gold and ivory, their primary focus was slaves. The slaves were a source of free labor, which was more valuable for industrialization and labor in farms. It would be important to note that in 1492, the slave trade involving the Muslims declined as the European market was saturated (Ahmed, 2016). However, with the discovery of America, this shifted with an increase in the slave trade to work on the American farms so that Europe could be supplied with agricultural products such as sugarcane and cotton (Ahmed, 2016). [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
With the abolishment of slave trade, the economic activities of West Africa and other parts of the world still affect modern trade. Countries still trade in commodities based on their nature of specialization. This is now considered as imports and exports with money providing the nature of the exchange. It would be vital to note that the West African trade of slaves came to make the cost of labor so cheap that countries realized they could make more profits through colonization than with slave trade (Ahmed, 2016). This changed the nature of trade for the world, as the European nations were now in control of their colonies natural resources. This meant that the need for payments was limited with countries exporting the resources home. While considering the labor aspect between this time and the slave trade in West Africa, it would be evident there was a shift in the labor system. The Muslim slaves were now being paid for their services but the rates were lower.
Specialization was a factor that becomes evident with the increased trade in West Africa. This is evident in the sense that the Europeans chose to deal in specialized goods. Since they would always offer their products in exchange for ivory and gold among many other goods, it became a recognized system of trade. In the modern world, the European nations still rely on Africa for raw materials (Form, 2012). For instance, cocoa and rubber are still sourced from West Africa while the countries import industrialized products from the European nations.
In essence, the trading structure has not changed, as the only difference is the elimination of slave trade. Islam is still a common religion with many West African nations such as Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, and Morocco among many others (Bugnacki, 2014). This means that the trade increased the spread of Islam as it also involved people from different parts of the Middle East. The only difference in this structure is the introduction of currency in trade. This has done away with the barter system and introduced the monetary system that has made the trade easier. This means that the Modern World trading system has been greatly influenced by West Africa and Islam. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Therefore, the modern world trade system is a reflection and progress of the historical West African trade system with an effect of Islam. The effects can be viewed from a political, social, environmental, and economic point. The modern world economic structure considers Africa as a source of raw materials while Europe and America provide industrial products. The world is now capitalistic with countries making balances between the imports and exports to run economies. In comparison to the West African empires such as the Mali Empire, the system is almost similar, but the primary difference is the monetary system. Upon the analysis of these different economic systems, it is evident that the West African trade is still active, but the empires are now replaced with countries that do not consider the religion of its citizens. However, in countries like Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, and Morocco, the Muslim population is still high while affecting the nature of products involved in the trade. In conclusion, religion and trade are widely connected, and that shows why Islam affected the West African trade while still influencing the Modern World trading system.
Ahmed N. (2016). The Atlantic Slave Trade. History of Islam.
Form, D. (2012). Effects of Islam on West Africa. Prezi.