The Trans-Saharan Book Trade

The most interesting academic activity I do is map work. I make maps for academic publications. They are usually monochrome as these cost far less to reproduce than color illustrations. One of my map projects has just (2011) been published by Brill in Leiden: The Trans-Saharan Book Trade: Manuscript Culture, Arabic Literacy and Intellectual History in Muslim Africa, edited by Graziano Krätli & Ghislaine Lydon. I wrote an introductory chapter on the historical geography of trans-Saharan trade, but I also prepared two maps for this edited volume.

Historic Trans-Saharan Trade Routes, 8th to 19th centuries

Trade in Arabic manuscripts across the Sahara Desert, between Northern and Western parts of Africa, is one of the least studied aspects of African history (the Saharan trade is best known for commodities such as gold, salt, slaves and horses). The Trans-Saharan Book Trade is an attempt to fill this gap in the literature. This map shows the main trade routes and trading stations in the region.

Main Manuscript Repositories in Northern and Western Africa

This map locates the main manuscript collections. The libraries of Timbuktu and Mauritania (Wadan, Chinqit) are now well know to specialists, and even to tourists.


About ericrossacademic

Professor of Geography at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco
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One Response to The Trans-Saharan Book Trade

  1. Pingback: Attending a symposium on the Trans-Saharan World | Eric Ross, academic

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