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Sahara



Introduction of Sahara
Desert, largest in the world, extending more than3,000 mi from the Red Sea on the E, westward to theAtlantic Ocean. On the N are the Atlas Mts, the MediterraneanSea, and some steppeland . The Saharaextends approximately 1,200 mi S to the Sahel, asemiarid region running from Senegal on the W toEthiopia on the E.The climate of the Sahara is extremely harsh, withvery little rainfall, very high temperatures, and littlevegetation except in scattered oases. The permanentpopulation has always been small, consisting inancient times mostly of black Sudanese. After thecamel was introduced, probably in the first centurya.d., Berbers and Arabs took over. They improvedoases by drilling for water and by planting date palmtrees. The Sahara became a sea of sand on which caravanstraveled like ships crossing an ocean. The medievalpeoples and kingdoms of West Africa, such asthe Fulani, the Hausa, Mali, Bornu, and Songhai,participated in this trade, which carried slaves, gold,salt, ivory, and other goods in all directions. Thenorth-south route between the mysterious and fabledcity of Timbuktu, in present Mali, and Algeria on the Mediterranean was particularly prosperous untilthe slave trade was suppressed in the 19th century.Today specially equipped motor vehicles havemostly replaced the camel as the ship of the desert.Beginning in the early 19th century the Saharaattracted many European explorers anxious to provetheir mettle by crossing it and curious to find some ofthe ancient cities in it and around its edges. The earliestadventurers were Friedrich Hornemann in 1805and Mungo Park in 1806. One of the first to makethe full crossing was Rene Caillie of France, who wasalso the first European to visit Timbuktu. Otherswere Heinrich Barth, a German in British service;Gustav Nachtigal, a German who visited the centralSahara in 1869 and reached Khartoum; Hugh Clappertonof Great Britain, one of the first Europeans tosee Lake Chad, mostly in present Chad; and DixonDenham of Great Britain who reached the Bornuregion in 1823. From west to east the Sahara coversall or most of the modern nations of Senegal, Mauritania,Algeria, Mali, Niger, Tunisia, Libya, Chad,Egypt, and Sudan.Desert, largest in the world, extending more than3,000 mi from the Red Sea on the E, westward to theAtlantic Ocean. On the N are the Atlas Mts, the MediterraneanSea, and some steppeland . The Saharaextends approximately 1,200 mi S to the Sahel, asemiarid region running from Senegal on the W toEthiopia on the E.The climate of the Sahara is extremely harsh, withvery little rainfall, very high temperatures, and littlevegetation except in scattered oases. The permanentpopulation has always been small, consisting inancient times mostly of black Sudanese. After thecamel was introduced, probably in the first centurya.d., Berbers and Arabs took over. They improvedoases by drilling for water and by planting date palmtrees. The Sahara became a sea of sand on which caravanstraveled like ships crossing an ocean. The medievalpeoples and kingdoms of West Africa, such asthe Fulani, the Hausa, Mali, Bornu, and Songhai,participated in this trade, which carried slaves, gold,salt, ivory, and other goods in all directions. Thenorth-south route between the mysterious and fabledcity of Timbuktu, in present Mali, and Algeria on the Mediterranean was particularly prosperous untilthe slave trade was suppressed in the 19th century.Today specially equipped motor vehicles havemostly replaced the camel as the ship of the desert.Beginning in the early 19th century the Saharaattracted many European explorers anxious to provetheir mettle by crossing it and curious to find some ofthe ancient cities in it and around its edges. The earliestadventurers were Friedrich Hornemann in 1805and Mungo Park in 1806. One of the first to makethe full crossing was Rene Caillie of France, who wasalso the first European to visit Timbuktu. Otherswere Heinrich Barth, a German in British service;Gustav Nachtigal, a German who visited the centralSahara in 1869 and reached Khartoum; Hugh Clappertonof Great Britain, one of the first Europeans tosee Lake Chad, mostly in present Chad; and DixonDenham of Great Britain who reached the Bornuregion in 1823. From west to east the Sahara coversall or most of the modern nations of Senegal, Mauritania,Algeria, Mali, Niger, Tunisia, Libya, Chad,Egypt, and Sudan.

Sahara Images