In West Africa during the Medieval period, salt was traded for gold. Salt is easily available today but that was not the case in ancient times. In the past, salt was difficult to obtain in certain parts of the world. Areas producing salt had a valuable trade advantage. In Medieval West Africa, salt led to the development of trade routes. Those routes became the real value in time (more valuable than salt).
Prior to the advent of refrigeration, meat and vegetables were salted so that they could be eaten at a later date.
During the Roman period, some soldiers were paid in salarium argentum, or salt money, from which the English word ‘salary’ is derived. Due to the high value of salt, an ancient Roman proverb said that people who did their job well were “worth their salt.” (Or “worth their weight in salt.”)
The oldest known salt production site is located in the city of Provadia, Bulgaria. It is also believed to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. The site, now called Solnitsata, was settled about 4,500 BC. Researchers believe that the small town supplied all the Balkans with their salt.
Around the 5th century AD, the use of camels allowed Berber-speaking peoples to cross the Sahara Desert. By the 8th century AD, trade was flowing between the Saharan and sub-Saharan regions of West Africa, as caravans traveled between the two on an annual basis. In sub-Saharan West Africa, gold was abundant, and this was exchanged for salt brought by caravans arriving from the north.
The salt transported by these caravans was obtained from salt mines in the Sahara Desert. In certain areas, such as Taghaza and Taoudenni, salt deposits can be found not far beneath the surface of the desert. Mining operations were set up in such areas and slaves were brought in to work there. Salt mining never enjoyed much of a reputation among slaves…
Much later in history, salt was mined in Death Valley, California.
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Churchill MkIII with a 300mm ‘Ardeer Aggie’ recoilless gun. It fired a 29kg HE projectile farther than the AVRE’s 290mm spigot mortar did, some 450 yards (411 meters). Of course, to fling such a shell so far, you need some serious charge. A LOT of gunpowder – much more than the gun would normally allow.
The British invented a unique solution. In order to improve the gun’s recoilless effect, they did put a “counterweight” behind the charge itself; in this case 29kg of sandbags. When the gun fired, the sandbags would eject violently out of the rear of the turret to the detriment of anyone behind the vehicle, compensating for the majority of recoil, bringing the amount of charge needed to more manageable quantities. Needless to say, this was NOT a popular solution with the crew.
This started as a “mystery tank” but I decided to spare you this time.
Identify the Weapons
They are slung beneath this B-17G Flying Fortress
Charlie Didn’t Surf