Why was salt a valuable item for trade?
Salt was a highly valued commodity not only because it was unobtainable in the sub-Saharan region but because it was constantly consumed and supply never quite met the total demand. There was also the problem that such a bulky item cost more to transport in significant quantities, which only added to its high price.
What are the uses of salt?
Salt has long been used for flavoring and for preserving food. It has also been used in tanning, dyeing and bleaching, and the production of pottery, soap, and chlorine. Today, it is widely used in the chemical industry.
What are the two most valuable uses of salt in Africa?
Why was salt important to West Africans? Salt is important in our diet, and also to preserve foods, to disinfect wounds, and to make food taste better.
What was salt once traded for?
Camel caravans from North Africa carried bars of salt as well as cloth, tobacco, and metal tools across the Sahara to trading centers like Djenne and Timbuktu on the Niger River. Some items for which the salt was traded include gold, ivory, slaves, skins, kola nuts, pepper, and sugar.
Why is salt so valuable and important?
It helped eliminate dependence on seasonal availability of food, and made it possible to transport food over large distances. However, salt was often difficult to obtain, so it was a highly valued trade item, and was considered a form of currency by certain peoples.
Is salt more valuable than gold?
The historian explains that, going by trade documents from Venice in 1590, you could purchase a ton of salt for 33 gold ducats (ton the unit of measure, not the hyperbolic large quantity). The fact is that it was actually salt trade that held more worth than the gold industry.
What are the 10 uses of salt?
10 Uses for Salt You’ve Never Used
- Clean up a dropped egg.
- Soothe a bee or poison ivy sting.
- Test for rotten eggs.
- Clean your clothes iron.
- Kill the grass growing in patio cracks.
- Keep your windows frost-free.
- Clean a cutting board.
- Clean fake flowers.
What can salt be turned into?
Its major industrial products are caustic soda and chlorine; salt is used in many industrial processes including the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride, plastics, paper pulp and many other products. Of the annual global production of around two hundred million tonnes of salt, about 6% is used for human consumption.
Who traded gold for salt?
Gold and salt trade via that Sahara Desert has been going on for many centuries. Gold from Mali and other West African states was traded north to the Mediterranean, in exchange for luxury goods and, ultimately, salt from the desert.
How did salt become cheap?
Come to the 19th century and industrial mining techniques made it possible to have an abundance of salt by drilling into salt mines. This new source, though expensive, created more supply than demand and reduce monopolisation.
What is so valuable about salt?
Prior to industrialization, it was extremely expensive and labor-intensive to harvest the mass quantities of salt necessary for food preservation and seasoning. This made salt an extremely valuable commodity. Salt taxes and monopolies have led to wars and protests everywhere from China to parts of Africa.
Why is salt so cheap now?
With a predictable market and no way to improve the product what happens is that profit margins are kept low and the market gets dominated by large suppliers. Food salt is comparatively a small market and the price is so cheap that it would scarcely generate more than a few dollars per household per year.
Why was salt so important in medieval times?
In Medieval West Africa, salt led to the development of trade routes, and brought great wealth to the cities and states which they passed through. Salt has many uses, though it is primarily associated with food. Today, salt is most commonly used to make food salty.
How was salt used in the salt trade?
Like their Medieval forebears, the salt miners of today rely on camels to transport the harvested salt, though in much smaller quantities, and certainly not traded for gold. Top image: Production of salt for the salt trade. ( homocosmicos / Adobe)
Why was surface salt as valuable as gold?
Surface salt is relatively rare and mining was difficult – and so, as civilisation spread, it became a precious commodity and trading routes were established all around the world. In the 6th century, sub-Saharan Moorish merchants traded one ounce of salt for one ounce of gold, and cakes of the former were used as money in many areas of Africa.
Why was the salt trade important to the Berbers?
The salt trade was valuable to food preservation. ( WildDago / Adobe) Around the 5th century AD, the use of camels allowed Berber-speaking peoples to cross the Sahara Desert. By the 8th century AD, trade was flowing between the Saharan and sub-Saharan regions of West Africa, as caravans traveled between the two on an annual basis.