European Trade Routes 1200-1400
Ancient West African Gold Trade Routes
This is a map of European trade routes from around the same time period as the map of trans-saharan trade routes. As you can see, there are many more routes than in West Africa, as there are more countries to trade to, and not a big desert in the middle. I think that the European trade around this time period was more organized than in Africa, because here, they had the Hanseatic League. It is a commercial group of merchant guilds and their markets in towns on the Northern coast of Europe. The main route that anyone trading with the League would take, starts in London, England. From there, they would go along the Northern coast of Germany. They would continue East, and go a bit North to stop in Sweden, then back South to Poland, and would then go to an island called Visby, a ways off of Sweden. They would then go into the Gulf of Riga, and stop in Riga, Latvia, to continue to their final destination, Novgorod, where modern day St. Petersburg, Russia is. I think that the main differences from the trade in West Africa, is that here, they trade to three different continents, while Mali stayed intercontinental, and that in Europe, a vast majority of the trading was done by sea. I think it was very good that the trading was organized by the Hanseatic League in Europe, that would help a lot, and that's the reason why I think the European trading would be a bit better than that of West Africa.