Trade Relations among European and African Nations

Contrary to popular views about precolonial Africa, local manufacturers were at this time creating items of comparable, if not superior, quality to those from preindustrial Europe. Due to advances in native forge technology, smiths in some regions of sub-Saharan Africa were producing steels of a better grade than those of their counterparts in Europe, and the highly developed West African textile workshops had produced fine cloths for export long before the arrival of European traders.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aftr/hd_aftr.htm

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