As we have seen in the past slides, salt is available from many different sources, and it is available from one or more of these sources in almost every country in the world. It is, therefore, somehow surprising that the trade of salt even over large distances played such an important role in history, and continues to be important today.
Famous examples for salt trade routes, often over thousands of kilometers include:
Trans-Saharan trade from the seventh to the eleventh century, which linked the Mediterranean economies that demanded gold—and could supply salt—to the sub-Saharan economies, where gold was abundant.
In medieval times, dozens of salt roads were crossing Europe from the Mediterranean, or rock salt mining regions or evaporation salt to supply regions with less access to salt or lower purity salt, or just for a lower-cost salt.
By 1772, in the last years before the American War of Independence, Britain’s North American colonies were importing 660,000 bushels (1 metric ton = 45.9296 bushels) annually from the West Indies: nearly 15,000 metric tons.
As of today, over 13% of the total global salt market is traded across world regions, and this portion could increase, driven by the low carbon footprint of solar salt, or by the availability of large amounts of “waste” salt from water desalination plants.