Swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

East Africa and the Middle East relationship from the first millennium BC to about AD - Persée

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

article discusses some of the issues associated with this topic on the coast of East Africa. trators believed that every African belonged to a tribe, just as every . well as commercial middlemen, between the interior of Africa and Asia. . African and European views of themselves, their origins and their relations with each. If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external . African societies practiced human bondage long before the Atlantic slave trade began. There is some evidence of chattel slavery, in which people were treated as brought cloth, weapons, and manufactured goods into the African interior. PDF | Coastal peoples who lived along the Eastern African seaboard in the first millennium Coast-Interior Settlements and Social Relations in the Kenya Coastal Hin- The ''Shirazi'' Problem in East African coastal History.

The Productive Base The East African coast became the Swahili coast only from the beginning of the second millennium ce when the Swahili language provided linguistic unity to it from the Benadir in southern Somalia to northern Mozambique, although the pattern of economic and social development of the coastal people, including social and cultural interaction between themselves and the people from across the sea, was already on course from at least the beginning of the first millennium.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

According to Nurse and Spear, by the middle of the first millennium, Bantu languages were spoken in the coastlands of northern Kenya, and southern Somalia associated with Early Iron Age Kwale pottery.

The Proto-Sabaki branch of the Northeast Coast Bantu emerged in the Lamu area in early 9th century ce and is associated with Tana ware, which is remarkably homogeneous along a thousand miles km of the coast and up to miles km inland.

Spear has pointed to a long chronological gap between the two pottery traditions, and there has been an intense debate between some archaeologists who see the Tana as evolving from the Kwale ware, while others argue that it developed from the Southern Cushitic substratum as seen in the presence of kraals and the prevalence of Cushitic vocabulary in Swahili.

A Brief History of the Swahili Language

Be that as it may, an early form of Swahili and Comorian languages spread quickly in coastal settlements as far south as Kilwa and even Chibuene in Mozambique, the Comoro Islands, and the northern coast of Madagascar during the following centuries.

The Swahili grew sorghum, yams, bananas, coconuts, and rice among food crops. They were also involved in hunting for meat as well as for skins and ivory.

Local trade had begun, exchanging their produce among themselves and with neighboring pastoralists and hunters. At the same time they exploited the seashore to obtain mangrove poles to build their houses; they harvested fish not only for subsistence but also for export at Malindi; and in the shallow waters of Sofala, they also dived for pearls. They were a seafaring group with ability to sail over considerable distances and to penetrate deep into the interior along the Tana and Pangani rivers.

This activity necessarily involved boatbuilding, and Buzurg ibn Shahriyar mentions numerous boats that surrounded Arab dhows at Sofala in the 10th century. They have exposed a sprawling settlement of earth-and-thatch structures at Tumbe in northern Pemba dating to — ce that were apparently based on widespread agricultural production and handicrafts that were not merely for subsistence, but were well connected with the Indian Ocean trade routes. These products probably supplied foodstuffs and other mundane commodities, which are otherwise overlooked in the few written accounts focusing on luxuries.

They were exchanged, among other goods, for imported pottery from the Persian Gulf and elsewhere that constituted nearly a tenth of the total at Tumbe and at many other sites along the coast. It was part of a larger pattern of villages and small towns from the mid-8th century that flourished before major urban centers began to drain the neighboring smaller settlements.

There was a profusion of clay spindle whorls at Kilwa suggesting a substantial local weaving industry since the area was suitable for the cultivation of cotton. Yaqut and Ibn Battuta in the 13th and 14th centuries mention the manufacture of maqdishi cloth from Mogadishu which was exported to Egypt. However, Kusimba argues that the strengthening of long-distance maritime trade had the effect of killing such local industries.

Barbosa reported in the early 16th century that people at Sofala had to unravel colored cloth from Cambay to weave into their own white cloth because they did not have appropriate dyes. Ibn Said al-Maghribi adds that the chief existence of the people of Sofala was mining gold and iron, which of course came from the interior.

In addition, dos Santos in the 16th century states that much iron of good quality from Mocaranga in the Zambezi Valley was exported by the Portuguese to India for the manufacture of guns. Horton identifies two phases in Indian Ocean trade. The early prosperity from ce was in response to demand for East African ivory, timber, slaves, and gold, directed toward the heartland of the Abbasid Empire.

Archaeological excavations have revealed a new phase of urbanization on the Swahili coast.

Swahili history

Nurse and Spear had estimated that in all about eight Swahili settlements developed into the largest and most prominent Swahili towns between the 9th and 11th centuries, and more have been identified since then. There is evidence of Early Iron Age pottery as well as imported artifacts from across the world from the Mediterranean to China. The site is littered with blue-green glazed Sassanid-Islamic pottery, and an Abbasid dinar was found with Kufic inscription and dated to — ce minted at Baghdad, which may have been part of a hoard of allegedly dug up in It was also one of the earliest sites of urbanism on the coast.

Most of its 17 hectares are associated with wattle and daub houses, but some stone buildings date to the 10th century, including a large 24 m x 16 m mosque. It appears as a large island in the 11th-century Egyptian map right next to Kanbalu, which was a regular port of call for traders from Oman and Siraf, the major Iranian port in the Persian Gulf.

Masudi, who visited the Swahili coast in the early 10th century, mentions that it was from this coast that the largest tusks of ivory weighing more than 50 pounds were imported to Suhar in Oman, from where they were sent to China and India.

The inhabitants take such great pride in the elegance of their houses that some merchants spend more than 30, dinars in constructing a house. Shahriyar records a couple of slave-trading ventures in the 10th century to the isles of Waqwaq and Kanbalu. You have yet to see the true Zanj, since you only know the enslaved kind brought from the shores of Kanbalu. And that is because the Zanj are of two main lines of descent, Kanbalu and Langawiya [people of al-Unguja].

It is mentioned once again in the 13th century by the Muslim geographer Yaqut, who says that its people had sought refuge on the Tumbatu islet off its northern coast whose people were Muslims. Horton found a Kufic inscription on Tumbatu in that is similar to that at Kizimkazi, although it has not yet been deciphered; he believes it to be closely related to those at Siraf.

They were organized in polities, with mfalume as their supreme king—the Swahili title that appears in the Kufic inscription in the Kizimkazi mosque in southern Unguja dated to ce. Their holy men exhorted the people to obey their god and reminded them of their ancestors and old kings.

Horton and Clark found on the beach local burnished and imported pottery, which suggest occupation from the 11th to the 16th century. It thus developed as the northern hub in the bifocal commercial system along the Swahili coast.

Ibn Battuta described it as a large offshore island where the diet consisted of bananas and fish, and had lemons and oranges, and imported grains from the mainland; but everyone went barefoot. There was plenty of food, including cattle and sheep, food grains as well as a great variety of fruits and vegetables. It had a good harbor and was a place of great traffic in which there were always moored a great variety of ships from Malindi, Zanzibar, Sofala and Cambay.

During the first one and a half centuries, the settlement on Manda Island consisted of wattle and daub houses, a very prosperous place with a large quantity of imports, but there is no evidence of Islam.

Shanga on the nearby Pate Island was occupied from the mid-8th to early 15th century. In earlier phases, it was occupied by fishermen and craftsmen who lived in circular or rectangular wattle and daub houses, worked iron, ground shell beads, and produced Tana ware.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

They were prosperous places with a large quantity of imports of pottery and glass, mainly from the Persian Gulf area by the midth century when ivory, timber, rock crystal, and iron were being exported. However, while there is no evidence of Islam at Manda, evidence of Islamic practices are apparent at Shanga from the very beginning, with burials dated to c. Porites coral was used in building a stone mosque from the 10th century, which Horton suggests may have been introduced from the Eritrean coast in the Red Sea.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

Fatimid coins have been found at Manda and Mtambwe on Pemba, and there was local minting of silver coins that show similarities with Fatimid coins from Sicily, suggesting trading connections with the Mediterranean with the rise of the Fatimids in Egypt. Earliest mosque at Shanga, showing postholes of earlier stick and mud mosques and of the stone mosque from the 10th century. Courtesy of Mark Horton. Along the Somali coast, the 12th century, Chinese author Chau Ju-kua had noted a contrast between pastoralists in the interior and cosmopolitan mercantile societies in coastal cities like Brava and Mogadishu.

Coastal societies were stratified, with the king and his ministers living in brick houses and wearing jackets and turbans, while the common people lived in huts made of palm leaves and wrapped themselves in cotton stuffs but went bareheaded and barefooted. He wore fabrics imported from Jerusalem and Egypt. There was an elaborate commercial system, with touts taking merchants to their respective hosts who provided accommodation and transacted their business, while scholars like Ibn Battuta were received by the Qadhi.

In the early 16th century, Barbosa reported that wealthy people exchanged their produce for colored silks and satins, gold, silver, porcelain, pepper, rice, and other cereals from Cambay, and Pires adds that traders from Mogadishu, as well as those from Mombasa, Malindi, and Kilwa, traded as far as Melaka in Southeast Asia, although apparently in Indian ships from Cambay. According to Chittick, during the early phase between andTana pottery predominated, with occasional Sassanian-Islamic pottery at the lowest levels.

  • Abdul Sheriff
  • East Africa and the Middle East relationship from the first millennium BC to about 1500 AD

The inhabitants lived in rectangular mud and thatch houses, and they engaged in fishing, bead grinding, ironworking, and weaving; but they were also already engaged in trade. Muhiyy al-Din al-Qahtani in the s, as well as in chronicles of numerous towns along the whole length of the Swahili coast from the Benadir to Mozambique, the Comoros, and northern Madagascar. Hasan from Shiraz embarked with his sons for the Swahili coast: Having come to the settlement of Mogadishu and Barawa, as he was of Persian origin and belonged to the sect of Mahamed which.

Muhammad al-Shirazi, an unequivocal Persian name that actually names his hometown. Mtambwe silver coins minted by Ali b. Hasan and Bahram b. However, the Shirazi dynasty at Kilwa was troubled by rival ports in the neighborhood, especially Songo Mnara and Sanje ya Kati. Contemporary Omani records examined by Wilkinson record active Ibadhi missionary activities in Kilwa at the beginning of the 12th century and a split in that community at the turn of the century in which one party had adopted a Shia Ithnaasheri creed.

This connection shows up at Sharma on the Hadhramaut coast where nearly an eighth of the ceramics appear to have originated from the Swahili coast from late 10th to midth centuries.

Africa is going to unite, Africans accepting KISWAHILI, to be Africa official Language,

With control over the gold trade from Sofala, there was a steep increase in prosperity under the new Mahdali dynasty of Yemeni origin when Chinese pottery and glass beads were imported, and even stone bowls were obtained from Madagascar. Kilwa went through a sudden burst of lavish expenditure and monumental construction. The Friday Mosque was extended enormously south of the older stone mosque, embellished with domes and arches, which a German visitor in the early 16th century compared with the great mosque at Cordoba.

At the same time, the Husuni Kubwa palace was constructed from with an octagonal swimming pool high on the cliff overlooking the harbor, using local building technology but introducing new architectural styles, motifs, and domes.

It encompasses lush rainforests along the equator, savannas on either side of the forest, and much drier land to the north. Until about CE, most Africans living in this area were hunter-gatherers. In the driest areas, herders maintained sheep, goats, cattle, or camels.

In the more heavily wooded area near the equator, farmers raised yams, palm products, or plantains. The savanna areas yielded crops including rice, millet, and sorghum. Map of West African societies pre-colonization. Wikimedia commons courtesy of Wikimedia commons. Although there were large trading centers along the rivers—the Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Volta, and Congo—most West Africans lived in small villages and identified primarily with their extended family or clan, rather than an ethnic or national identity.

Wives, children, and dependents were a sign of wealth; men frequently practiced polygyny, or the custom of having more than one wife. In times of need, West Africans relied on relatives from near and far for support. Hundreds of separate dialects emerged from different west African clans; in modern Nigeria, nearly languages are still spoken. African societies practiced human bondage long before the Atlantic slave trade began.

Famine or fear of stronger enemies might force one tribe to ask another for help and give themselves in bondage in exchange for assistance. Similar to the European serf systemthose seeking protection or relief from starvation would become the servants of those who provided relief.

Debt might also be worked off through some form of servitude.

swahili people and interior africa relationship problems

Furthermore, prisoners of war between different African societies oftentimes became enslaved. Typically, these servants became a part of the extended tribal family.

There is some evidence of chattel slavery, in which people were treated as personal property, in the Nile Valley. It appears there was a slave-trade route through the Sahara that brought sub-Saharan Africans to Rome, a global center of slavery. West Africans transported to the coast to be sold into slavery. Wikimedia Commons Religion and the African empire Religious movement helped shape African societal structure. Following the death of the prophet Muhammad in CE, Islam spread quickly across North Africa, bringing not only a unifying faith but a political and legal structure as well.

Only those who had converted to Islam could rule or be engaged in trade. The first major empire to emerge in West Africa was the Ghana Empire. Bythe Soninke farmers of the region had become wealthy by taxing traders who traversed their area.