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Literature on the History of East Africa
First posted on November 28th 2011

Emergence of Swahili Culture . Around 1000 AD, East Africa got integrated in the Indian Ocean trade. Mercants from Arabia, Persia, India settled in places on the East African coast or adjacent islands, where they were joined by local Africans. Here an urban civilization centered on trade emerged, which was Muslim by religion, proud of its Arab heritage, yet distinctly African, speaking Kiswahili language - an African language using many Arab and Persian loanwords. This Swahili culture emerged on the coast of modern Tanzania and spread from there, both in northerly and southerly direction.
Swahili cities were connected by caravan routes (human carriers, as diseases carried by the tsetse tly killed off beasts of burden) with the East African hinterland. These caravans brought ivory, rubber, copper (Katangan crosses) and African slaves. Swahili ships (dhows) brought these items to ports on the Indian Ocean; the most important market was India. Through Sofala, gold from the inland Kingdom of Mutapa (Monomotapa) reached the coast.

Political History . By the time of the Arrival of the Portuguese (1498) the Sultanate of Kilwa covered the entire Swahili Coast. The Portuguese sacked Kilwa in 1505 and took control of most important ports along the Swahili coast. While the Portuguese were ousted from Kilwa in 1512, the city had lost its dominant position. The Portuguese were ousted from their strongholds in Mombasa, Malindi and Zanzibar in 1698, by the Sultanate of Oman; the Portuguese held on to the southern chain of Swahili cities (Mozambique, Quelimane, Sofala). In 1841 the Sultanate of Zanzibar was formed of the African possessions of the Sultanate of Oman.
Britain, in an effort to both break the Dutch monopoly on trade in certain spices, and to provide Zanzibar with an alternative source of revenue (to the slave trade), introduced the cultivation of cloves in the mid-19th century; hence Zanzibar and neighbouring islands are also called "spice islands". In 1885/1886 Britain and Germany agreed on the partitioning of Zanzibar's mainland possessions - British East Africa (Kenya) and German East Africa. France established a protectorate over the Comoro islands<; in 1890 Zanzibar (with Pemba) became a British protectorate.

Spelling Varieties
Swahili : Soahili, Suaheli etc.
Kilwa : Quiloa
The Swahili mainland, in historic sources, is often referred to as Zanguebar

Students' Paper : Sung Ji Yun, History of Nutrition in East Africa (2012)

E x t e r n a l . F i l e s
Country Profiles Links, Portals Organizations Accounts of History Politics Military History Economic History
Social History Ethnography History of Religion Regional History Local History Institutions Culture
Biography Others
D o c u m e n t s
Historical Data Documents Institutions National Symbols
P r i n t e d . R e f e r e n c e
Bibliographies Online Libraries Online Journals General Accounts Specific Topics Historical Dictionaries Others

Country Profiles Current Swahili Coast Presentation, from British Museum
Historic D. Barbosa, A description of the coasts of East Africa and Malabar: in the beginning of the sixteenth century, 1866, GB
Sheikhs and Sultans of the Swahili 'City-states' - What Sir Burton had to say, Stanley's Experiences, posted by Dianabuja
Links on History
Historical Dictionaries
Organizations Research Institute of Swahili Studies of Eastern Africa (RISS-EA)
Swahili Cultural Center, Mombasa
Zanzibar Department of Archives, Museums and Antiquities
House of Wonders Museum, from Zanzibar Heritage
Accounts of History current E.A. Alpers, Ivory and slaves: changing pattern of international trade in East Central Africa to the later nineteenth century 1975, GB
M.M. du Jourdin, Les contacts historiques de l'Afrique et de Madagascar avec l'Asie du Sud et du Sud-este: le role de l'Ocean indien, Archipel Annee 1981 Volume 21 Numero 21 pp.35-53, Persee
Specific Periods pre-1250 D. Glassmann, The Littoral Difference: Examining the Swahili and Malabar Coasts during the Islamic Golden Age, thesis Tufts 2009
Dianabuja, Swahili city states : Pre-European 'colonizers' of East and Central Africa, 2009
F.A. Chami et al., East Africa and the Middle East relationship from the first millennium BC to about 1500 AD, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.21-37 , Persee
1250-1500 Article : Kilwa Sultanate, from Wikipedia
Dianabuja, Swahili city states : Pre-European 'colonizers' of East and Central Africa, 2009
F.A. Chami et al., East Africa and the Middle East relationship from the first millennium BC to about 1500 AD, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.21-37 , Persee
1500-1700 On Quiloa, Monbaça, Melinde pp.6-30 in F.L. de Castanheda, Historia da descubrimiento e conquista de India pelos Portuguezes, 1833, in Portuguese, GB
Mozambique : Portuguese hegemony in coastal East Africa (1498-1699), Tanzania : Portuguese Dominance 1500-1698, from EISA
Jim Jones, Timeline of Portuguese Activity in East Africa, 1498-1700
1700-1840 Tanzania : Omani Conquest 1698-1884, from EISA
T. Vernet et al., Les cit?-Etats swahili et la puissance omanaise, 1650-1720, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.89-110, Persee
1880- C. Brantley, The Giriama and colonial resistance in Kenya, 1800-1920, 1981, GB
Historiography J. Devisse, Les Africains, la mer et les historiens , Cahiers d'etudes africaines Annee 1989 Volume 29 Numero 115-116 pp.397-418, Persee
Politics Foreign Relations W. Gilbert, Our Man in Zanzibar: Richard Waters, American Consul, (1837-1845), thesis 2011
Military Article : Portuguese expedition to Sofala (Anaia, 1505) , from Wikipedia
Article : Fort Jesus, from Wikipedia
R.L. Pauwels, The Battle of Shela : The Climax of an Era and a Point of Departure in the Modem History of the Kenya Coast [fought between 1807 and 1813], Cahiers d'etudes africaines Annee 1991 Volume 31 Numero 123 pp.363-389, Persee
S. Pradines, L'art de la guerre chez les Swahili : les premiers forts d'Afrique orientale, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.71-87, Persee
Article : Ottoman-Portuguese Conflicts 1538-1557 , from Wikipedia
Article : Ottoman-Portuguese Conflicts 1558-1563 , from Wikipedia
Article : Ottoman-Portuguese Conflicts 1580-1589 , from Wikipedia
Economy & Finances Trade by Route Caravan Trade Caravans and the Impact of Long-Distance Trade, from College Board
The Swahili and other Native Tribes [on caravan trade], from The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and other East African Adventures by J.H. Patterson
UNESCO World Heritage Site : Tanzania : The Central Slave and Ivory Trade Route
Article : Nyamwezi People [involved in caravan trade with Swahili ports], from Wikipedia
Maritime Trade The Dhow Culture of the Indian Ocean, from House of Wonders Museum, Zanzibar
Old World Contacts : Kilwa, 1000-1500, from Univ. of Calgary
P. Greste, Could a rusty coin rewrite Chinese-African History ?, BBC News 18 Oct 2010
B.A. Datoo, East African Ports, pp.63-73 in S.H. Ominde, Studies in East African Geography and Development, 1971, GB
Trade by Item Slaves The East African Slave Trade, from Royal Naval Museum, from Zanzibar Travel Guide
The slave trade of east Africa, 1869, IA
E.A. Alpers, The French Slave Trade in East Africa (1721-1810) , Cahiers d'etudes africaines Annee 1970 Volume 10 Numero 37 pp.80-124, Persee
Article : Arab Slave Trade, from Wikipedia
Zanzibar Slave Trade, from William Loney RN, Victorial naval surgeon, by P. Davis
R.J. Ross, The Dutch on the Swahili coast, 1776 - 1778: Two slaving journals, International Journal of African Historical Studies, 19 (2 & 3) 305 -360, 479 - 506 (1986)
Trade by Item Pottery Kilwa Pot Sherds, from British Museum
Manufacture Textiles RISSEA : Dressmaking and Embroidery
Social History Swahili Sailors in Early China, from Black Jade World
C. Geffray, Nobles, bourgeois, Inquisition : les premisses de l'expansion coloniale portugaise au XVIe siecle, Cahiers d'?udes africaines Annee 1981 Volume 21 Numero 84 pp.523-546, Persee
P. Baquez, Honneur et pudeur dans la societe swahili de Zanzibar, Journal des africanistes Annee 1997 Volume 67 Numero 67-2 pp.25-48, Persee
R.L. Pauwels, Swahili Networks, Cahiers d'etudes africaines Annee 1991 Volume 31 Numero 123 pp.411-415, Persee
A. Chanfi et al., Rites de mort aux Comores et chez les Swahili. Entre islam savant et culture locale, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.187-201, Persee
Ethnography J. Pickering, Memoir on the language and habitants of Lord North's? Island, 1845, GB
F. le Guennec-Coppens, S. Mery, Les Swahili : une singularite anthropologique en Afrique de l'Est, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.55-70, Persee
Religion Mosques of Eastern Africa pt.I, pt.II, pt.III, from Out of Hadhramaut
Order of St. Augustine : East Africa 01, 02, Kenya Mombasa 01, 02, 03, Mombasa Martyrs 01, 02
History of Regions Article : Wituland, from Wikipedia
M. Newitt, The Comoro Islands in Indian Ocean Trade before the 19th Century, Cahiers d'etudes africaines Annee 1983 Volume 23 Numero 89-90 pp.139-165, Persee
Local History Kilwa Article : Kilwa Kisiwani : History
K. Kilian Die Ruinen von Kilwa Kisiwani und ihre Bedeutung als archäologische Stätte , 2006, thesis Humboldt Univ. Berlin, in German
Kilwa, from Dictionary of Islamic Architecture, posted by Archnet
Lamu Article : Lamu : History, from Wikipedia
Malindi Article : Malindi : History, from Wikipedia
Mombasa Article : Mombasa : History, from Wikipedia
Port of Mombasa History, from Kenya Ports Authority
Sofala Article : Sofala : History, from Wikipedia
As terras de Sofala, from Moçambique. O primeiro contacto dos portugueses com o territorio que e actualmente Moçambique, by F. Antunes, in Portuguese
Zanzibar Article : History of Zanzibar, from Wikipedia
other History of Bagamoyo, from Freundeskreis Bagamoyo
Article : Bagamoyo : History, from Wikipedia
Article : Island of Mozambique : History, from Wikipedia
A Ilha de Moçambique, from Moçambique. O primeiro contacto dos portugueses com o territorio que e actualmente Moçambique, by F. Antunes, in Portuguese
Article : Quelimane : History, from Wikipedia
History and Culture, from Saadani National Park
Songo Mnara. Urban Space, Social Memory and Materiality, Rice Univ.
Culture Eastern and Southern Africa, 1000-1400 AD, Eastern and Southerm Africa, 1400-1600 AD, from Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
P.E.H. Hair, Milho, Meixoeira and Other Foodstuffs of the Sofala Garrison, 1505-1525., Cahiers d'etudes africaines Annee 1977 Volume 17 Numero 66-67 pp.353-363, Persee
J.T. Fargion, The Music of Zenj: Arab-African crossovers in the music of Zanzibar, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.203-212, Persee
K. Larsen et al., Knowledge, Astrology and the Power of Healing in Zanzibar, Journal des africanistes Annee 2002 Volume 72 Numero 72-2 pp.175-186, Persee
Dianabuja, Swahili 'City States' in 19th Century East Africa: Indigenous and Imported Crops, 2010

Historical Data Lists of Statesmen Rulers of the Kilwa Sultanate, from Wikipedia Article Kilwa Sultanate
List of Rulers of Pate Sultanate, from Wikipedia
Lists of Consuls British Consuls and Consuls-General at Zanzibar, 1840-1913, by P. Davis
U.S. consular officials in Tanzania : Zanzibar, from Political Graveyard
Documents Image Databanks Category : Ancient Swahili Sites, Swahili History, Kilwa, from Wikimedia Commons
Archival Deposits National Archives UK, London
Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, Portugal
Constitutions, Laws
Consular Reports Report from Kilwa March 4 1868, pp.70-71 in Accounts and papers of the House of Commons 1869, GB
Document Collections Catalogues, Descriptions A.K. Bang, The Manuscript Collection of the Riyadha Mosque, Lamu, Kenya
Aydaroos, Riyadha Mosque Manuscripts: A Profile, 2011
Editions Report from the Select Committee, or Slave Trade Treaties, 1853, GB
Bullarium patronatus Portugalliae regum in ecclesiis Africae, Asiae atque Oceaniae vol.1 : 1171-1600 1868, vol.2 : 1601-1700 1870, GB
Individual Documents Letter of 1825 describing the Swahili Slave Trade, pp.80-82 in House of Commons papers vol.26, 1826, GB
Slave Trade in Connection to the Projected Railway by Captain J.W. Pringle R.E. 12th May 1893, posted by The Civilising Mission
Historical Maps Map : Location of Swahili Port Cities, from Wikimedia Commons
Quiloa 1745, from NY Public Library Digital Collection
Zanguebar 1681, from NY Public Library Digital Collection
Map : East Africa c.1500, from Wikipedia
Map : Sofala 1683, from Wikipedia
Encyclopedia Entries
Economic East Coast of Africa, pp.55-70 in W. Milburn, Oriental Commerce, 1813, GB
Eastern Africa, pp.107-109 in vol.2 of J. MacGregor, The Resources and Statistics of Nations 1834, GB
Seaports and Trade of Eastern Africa, pp.333-341 in J. MacGregor, Commercial statistics, 1850, GB
Political Zanguebar, pp.108-112 in vol.8 of T.G. Smollett, The present state of all nations , 1769, GB
Geographical Zanguebar, ou Zanzibar, pp.63-66 in N. Sanson, L'Europe [l'Asie, l'Afrique, l'Amerique] en plusieurs cartes, 1683, in French, GB
Tabula geographica de regno Zanguebar, p.488 in G. Kolb, Compendium totius orbis: partim geographicum, partim genealogicum, partim historicum, 1726, in Latin, GB
Le Zanguebar, pp.249-252 in vol.4 of J.J. Vaissete, G?graphie historique ecclesiastique et civile ou description de toutes les parties du globe terrestre, 1755, in French, GB
Zanguebar and Sofala, pp.498-506 in J. Payne, Universal geography formed into a new and entire system 1794, GB
Eastern Coast of Africa, pp.753-756 in J. Morse, The American universal geography, 1812, GB
The East Coast of Africa, pp.21-29 in J.H. Tuckey, Maritime geography and statistics, 1815, GB
Africa. Eastern Coast, or Zanguebar, pp.403-408 in vol.4 of C. Malte-Brun, Universal Geography 1825, GB
Ethnographical Arabised Negroes, pp.191-196 in C. Pickering, J.C. Hall, The races of man: and their geographical distribution, 1854, GB
Outlines of General Ethnology : Arabised Negroes, pp.840-841 in : Royal Geographical Society, A Gazetteer of the World: Ta-Zzubin, 1856, GB
Historical Il Zanguebar, p.317 in vol.1 of P. le Lorrain de Vallemont, Gli Elementi Della Storia 1718, in Italian, GB
The Present State of Zanguebar, p.8 in vol.3 of T. Salmon, Modern history or the present state of all nations, 1746, GB
The History of the principal kingdoms of the coast of Zanguebar, pp.390-395, The History of the Kingdom of Melinda, pp.395-408, The History of the Kingdom and Islands of Mombaso and Quiloa, pp.408-434 in vol.15 of G. Sale et al., An universal history: from the earliest accounts to the present time, 1760, GB
The History of the principal kingdoms of the coast of Zanguebar, pp.325-328, The History of the Kingdom of Melinda, pp.329-339, The History of the Kingdom and Islands of Mombaso and Quiloa, pp.339-361 in vol.12 of G. Sale et al., An universal history: from the earliest accounts to the present time, 1781, GB
Mombasa and Quiloa, pp.326-333 in vol.13 of W. Mavor, Universal history, ancient and modern, 1802, GB
Die Küste Zanguebar, pp.271-275 in vol.6 of J.G. Eichhorn, Geschichte der letzten drey Jahrhunderte, 1804, in German, GB
Tour Guides Ahmad Ibn Magid (1431-1510) The Poem of Sofala. Arab Navigation along the East African Coast in the 15th Century, 1982, GB; trsl. by Khoury into English
A.G. Findlay, A directory for the navigation of the Indian Ocean, 1866, GB
Travelogues Ibn Battuta, the East African Journey 1331, posted by Jim Jones 1997
G. Correa, The three voyages of Vasco da Gama, and his viceroyalty, 1869, GB
J. Prior, Voyage along the eastern coast of Africa, to Mosambique, Johanna, and Quiloa 1819, GB
W.F.W. Owen, Narrative of voyages to explore the shores of Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar 1833, GB
P.E. vom Lettow-Vorbeck, My Reminiscences of East Africa, n.d., GB
Institutions Archives Zanzibar National Archives, from ArchivesWiki
Musea Lists, Links
Musea Museum Websites National Museum of Tanzania
Fort Jesus, from National Museums of Kenya
Monuments Historic Sites of Kilwa, from World Monument Fund
UNESCO World Heritage Centre : Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania
National Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms
Coins, Banknotes Coin, Kilwa Sultanate (East Africa), Al Hasan ibn Sulaimam (c. AD 1482-1493), Powerhouse Museum. reliability of provider questionable; has several coins with Latin alphabet inscription labeled as "Kilwa Sultanate", pre-1500; for ex. this one
Kilwa Coin, c.1315, Fitzwilliam Museum, europeana
Kilwa Coins, from Fitzwilliam Museum
Coin of Sultan Sulaman ibn al-Hasan, Kilwa, 14th century, from British Museum
East Africa Sultanates : Kilwa, Zanzibar, from Zeno

Bibliographies general Datenbasis Internationale Beziehungen und Länderkunde (Data Base on International Relations and Country Studies) (site in German, most titles listed in English; numerous entries; publications mostly since 1970)
RHS Bibliography
UK National Archive Online Library
ISBN Database
J.J. Gotthold, World Bibliographical Series 85 : Indian Ocean, Oxford : Clio 1988 [G]
Online Libraries general Internet Archives
Gutenberg Library Online
Online Journals full text online Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines, Persee, 1966-1999
Journal des Africanistes, Persee 1931-2007
Table of Contents
General Accounts John Iliffe, A Modern History of Tanganyika, Cambridge : UP 1979 [G]
Specific Topics
Historical Dictionary Laura S. Kurtz, Historical Dictionary of Tanzania, Metuchen NJ : Scarecrow 1978 [G]
Bethwell A. Ogit, Historical Dictionary of Kenya, Metuchen N.J. : Scarecrow 1981 [G]

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