Iron Age

Rise to Glory: Trading Empires


Control of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and therefore the Mediterranean trade, soon brought the Arab traders into conflict with Axum, whose wealth was based on this commerce. Many of Axum’s trading routes in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean were lost through the Islamic expansion, and at last it was forced to turn inwards and look for new markets within Africa.

It found these in the northern Ethiopian highlands. Slowly the Axumites began to move the centre of their empire away from Axum, and by the seventh century AD, Aksum was abandoned.

Arab traders linked the kingdom of Great Zimbabwe with the east. Fragments of glass and crockery from China have been found in the ruins of this kingdom which is many hundreds of kilometres from the coast and thousands of kilometres from China. 1     2


Red Sea Trade

 Africa in History
 Human Evolution

 North Africa  

 Kingdoms of the South
 Trading Empires
 West Africa

Slave Trade