Below is a brief but adequate little timeline that depicts the vast history of the existence of the Sahara desert. Over thousands of years, travelers from all cultures have journeyed through the desert sands, including the Egyptians, Nubians, Phoenicians, and Greeks. From the very beginning of human settlement in Africa, this region has become the center for the Trans-Saharan trade, European imperialism, and urban civilization in the modern day.
5 million years ago: Climatic changes turn the region of the Sahara into a desert.
Around 5000 BCE: Climatic changes, with more rainfall over the Saharan region. Domesticated livestock appear in Sahara, leading to nomadic pastoralism.
Around 4000 BCE: First traces of agriculture.
Around 0 CE: The climate of Sahara returns mainly to desert, rather similar to modern conditions.
3rd century: Camels are introduced in Sahara, taking the place of horses. This leads to a great increase in trade as well as banditry.
7th century: Islam is introduced to Sahara, but the conversion process would take almost 4 centuries, involving mild missionary activities and sometimes even brutal oppression.
16th century: Climatic changes bring about increased precipitation.
18th century: This is a period of gradual decline in precipitation, involving a process in which many regions become uninhabitable, leading up to the climatic and demographic conditions of modern times.
1922: Storms and floods destroy Tamanrasset in Algeria.