From 750-1500 AD, the Sahara Desert was filled with thriving civilizations. Muslim kings ruled cities, and Obas ruled rainforest civilizations. Swahili people became rich through trade.
Traders in North Africa crossed the desert in caravans, with as many as 10,000 camels with goods. At the southern edge, goods were moved to donkeys and human porters to be carried south. Some goods were gold, ivory, ebony, and slaves from the West African Kingdoms such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai were sold in North Africa and the Middle East for salt and copper, mined in the Sahara. Later, European traders came for gold, ebony, and slaves.