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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The View from Awdaghust: War, Trade and Social Change in the Southwestern Sahara, from the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century
Author:McDougall, E. AnnISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Mauritania
Subjects:urban society
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/181836
Abstract:Survival in the Sahara imposed a fairly rudimentary lifestyle on the medieval pastoralist, but the social and economic relations which nurtured it were neither as intrinsic nor as unchanging as they might at first appear. Finding a window on to this way of life, made obscure by its itinerant nature and the passage of time, is not easy, nor is an attempt to trace change in internal relations using externally compiled sources which are few in number, variable in quality and uneven in temporal distribution. In this paper, an effort is made to meet these challenges by approaching the subject through the history of an oasis - Awdaghust, the famous medieval caravan centre - where many strands of Saharan life appear to have crossed. During the period of the eight to the end of the fifteenth century the southern Sahara inserted itself irreversibly into the history of West Africa. The economic growth of Mauritania 's central Adrar-Tagant region was critical to Awdaghust's fortunes and fate and relations with the great Sudanese empire of Ghana as well as the economic foundation for the emergence of a socially stratified Saharan society by the late medieval era. Map, notes, sum.