No one knows for sure when the kingdom of Axum began. Axum was located just south of Kush on a high plateau. Today the countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea are located here. Axum had access to the Red Sea.
By 50 CE, traders, using the Silk Road, came to Axum for its salt, gold, and gems. Animal products such as ivory, rhinoceros horns, and tortoise shells were also traded in the marketplace. In return they brought with them silk, spices, olive oil, wine, brass, and iron.
But Axum wanted more, which led to the people setting their sights on Kush. Taking over Kush gave Axum access not only to the Red Sea but also to the Nile River. This opened even more trading markets in Egypt and the Mediterranean area. Greco-Roman traders often came to Axum. These traders offered many goods, such as steel and cloth.

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