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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although Atlantic Africa was the last of the continent's shores to establish regular overseas connections, many aspects of its interactions mirrored those of East and North Africa. Ghana's successors in the Western Sudan, the empires of Mali and Songhai, continued to assure safety, stability, and wealth to Arab and Berber traders from the north. Trans-Saharan trade supplied books and paper to the centres of Islamic learning at Timbuktu and elsewhere. In 1591, however, the power, wealth, and expansive policies of the Songhai rulers provoked a retaliatory invasion by the sultan of Morocco. This article explores the first two centuries of contacts in the African Atlantic under three interconnected and somewhat overlapping headings: the establishment of diplomatic relations, the growth of commercial exchanges, and the development of intercultural and cross-cultural relations. In each case it notes the different patterns that developed in Upper Guinea, the Gold Coast, the Niger Delta, and West Central Africa.

Keywords: Atlantic, Africa, Ghana, Sudan, trade, contacts, diplomatic relations, Upper Guinea, commercial exhanges, cross-cultural relations

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