A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF EMPIRE, TRADE AND RELIGIOUS NETWORKS AS REGIONALIZATION PROCESSES IN THE TRANS-SAHARAN AFRICA REGION
Keywords:Empire-regionalism, inter-regionalism, Mediterranean region, regionalism, religious networks, trade networks, trans-regionalism, trans-Saharan Africa
Ancient societies devised strategies of interactions with one another that signified regional political, economic and social initiatives. Research in regionalism has been limited to regional integration within functional areas under Westphalian order. However, in precolonial Africa, some societies developed advanced mechanisms of trade and commerce, empire and religion which supported the regionalization process that created the Trans-Saharan Africa region. Empires and kingdoms such as Morocco, Borno, Songhay, Mali, and the Trans-Saharan trade, whose routes created strong commercial and religious links among them. Using documentary analysis, this study argues that the forces of trade, empire and religion created the Trans-Sharan Africa region. It further argues that the transformation which the concept of regionalism has witnessed indeed had its origin in the regionalization process of the societies of the Maghreb and Western and Central Sudan which manifested in similar ways which contemporary open regionalism and Trans- and inter I regionalism imply. Finally, the study argues that this regionalization process incorporated the Mediterranean region into its orbit of regionality. It is recommended that future research focus on ancient regional connectivity particularly in Africa.
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