A few weeks ago, or perhaps a few months ago, or at least recently enough that it has stayed in my head, one of the Marginalia asked me about camels. The short answer is simple: read Richard W. Bulliet’s The Camel and the Wheel. It’s a charming and well-illustrated book that explores the question of…

Read More

In the eighth century CE, after camels were introduced into North Africa, Muslim merchants of North Africa began to organize regular camel caravans across the western Sahara. North African merchants carried luxury goods from across the Islamic world and salt purchased from the desert salt mines to the great trading cities of the Sudan: Timbuktu,…

Read More