Three African powers controlled the Trans-Saharan trade routes - the Ghana, Songhai and Mali Empires. Trade peaked from 8th to the 17th century. Some caravans of camels were as large as 12,000. Carthage, which battled with Rome for supremacy in the Old World was in what was later Ifriqiya, modern-day Tunisia. The cities of the Mali Empire (1230 - 1600) became major centres of culture and learning. The legend of Timbuktu spread. Trade focused on Gold, Salt, Ivory and Slaves. Sea Routes, a Moroccan invasion, and an 18th century famine broke the area. The country of the richest man to have ever lived, Mansa Musa, is now one of the poorest. The old libraries like the old factories of Detroit. Things change.
The Roman province of Africa Proconsularis became Ifriqiya