Prevalent across the northern half of the continent is the religion of Islam. Not African in origin, it was brought by Arab traders across the Sahara beginning around 700 and downward through the Sahel and East Africa thereafter. Between 900 and the 1800’s, the religion spread throughout the Sahara via trade networks and jihad. Rather than seeking domination, practitioners of the faith sought to influence their trade partners, and bringing with it a high rate of literacy as a result.
image via http://islamandafrica.com/