The Golden Trade of the Moors

The Golden Trade of the Moors

The Golden Trade of the Moors

The Golden Trade of the Moors

Excerpt

This book has been written in response to a request for a new edition of my Caravans of the Old Sahara. It covers the same field and tells much the same story, but not in quite the same way. There are several reasons for this.

First, I found the mere revision of what I wrote a quarter of a century ago humiliating and tedious. There was too much that should have been written better, and not a little that should not have been written at all. In the meanwhile, too, I had gathered new material much of which had to be used, if only to show how wrong some of my earlier conclusions had been. The need to rewrite the whole book was plainly inescapable.

But more than that was required. The passage of years had brought changes which seemed to call for a different treatment of the subject, a new approach to the story. The purpose of my Caravans was, as the Preface said, to show how the trans- Saharan trade routes had woven ties of blood and culture between the peoples north and south of the desert, and to win a measure of recognition for the part which the Western Sudanese have played in the history of civilization. The emphasis was on the influence of the peoples of the North African littoral on the negroid peoples of the interior, of the whites and browns on the blacks. The book was conceived in Kano, looking northwards across the great wastes of the Sahara towards the teeming cities of Barbary with which the Western Sudanese were linked by ties forged over the centuries. The book was consequently addressed primarily to those interested in West Africa.

Since then I have become better acquainted with Barbary, from Marrakech to Lepcis, and with its literature. My modest travels and my reading have taught me much, especially that the Sahara dominates the history of the north not less than it does that of the south. But this ascendancy is little recognized by the historians of Barbary, and not at all by the masses who gaze enthralled at the splendour of the ancient monuments with which that and land is strewn.

There seemed to me a need for a book showing how the . . .

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