Very detailed video on the Swahili Coast

Sep 2015
1,805
England
#11
The Swahili or Kilwa Sultanate '...was a medieval sultanate, centered at Kilwa, whose authority, at its height, stretched over the entire length of the Swahili Coast. It was founded in the 10th century by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi, a Persian prince of Shiraz'. The Sultanate exported among many other things enslaved peoples.
 
Last edited:

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,594
Benin City, Nigeria
#12
If you don't like peoples reaction to your comments, don't make them. Just don't bother. Life's too short. Anyone who watches the short vid will encounter the time span: 1000 years+-... No big deal then. Except what you have made of it so far. Is this a friendly history club thing or what?
I don't think we should personalize this discussion so much. Let's try and keep the tone of the discussion more relaxed please. I haven't said that "I don't like your reaction to my comments". I simply think there are some erroneous ideas present in some of them.

I watched the video, and I just suspected that you believed that the interpretation of the area that you put forward in your first comment is accurate for at least "a thousand years and more" when it is not.

Dreuxeng: NOPE. I DID NOT. PATENTLY. Portuguese involvement is not very relevant, and certainly did not in any way effect the Islamic slave culture that was extant in at least the c.7th. Plain intelligible points beginning to end. Anyone who can read, will read as much. Yes?
Well I think it is very relevant. It shifted the balance of power there and changed things substantially. Possibly there might not even have been later Omani domination and the significant expansion of the scale of the slave trade without it.

No they didn't. And the British ABSOLUTELY NEVER had anything to do with forced labour. If they did, i would be more than interested to know what evidence there is of the same.
I don't see what the point is of being in denial. . .To say that the British never had anything to do with forced labor is like saying water isn't wet. You can even find writings from British anti-forced labor campaigners criticizing their government's use of forced labor in some of their colonies.

Vernet's claim is no more or no less than anyone else's. Let's hear Coupland's critique of Vernet's short arguments, and evaluate properly thereafter.
Coupland is dead. Vernet's point in the article when mentioning Coupland is that he (Coupland) was to some extent basically just making stuff up without providing supporting evidence.

Actually? And the Portuguese sources are no more truthful of reality than any other source or text, and with whatsoever motive! And of course i mentioned this point anyway...

And what evidence is there for his entirely unsubstantiated and patently circumstantial statement? Not a lot i proffer, not a lot. The Portuguese may have traded for gold and ivory...
Did you understand the quote I provided about Angoy from Duarte Barbosa? There are multiple quotes emphasizing gold and ivory in Swahili trade for the earlier periods (prior to the 19th century). What motive would the sources have to emphasize the trade in gold and ivory and downplay the relative importance/prominence of the trade in slaves until later centuries?

The Swahili language emerged and was adopted by peoples. Were these people Islamic Somalis?The abstract does not provide any religious identity and culture. An Islamic "overlay" as you say implies exactly that however: of foreign peoples entirely socially exclusive, within and from Islamic boundaries - and as stated chieftains could also be collaborators in a system of slavery and trade:
1. The Swahili language is a Bantu language with Arab influence.

2. No, an "Islamic overlay" does not imply that they were "foreign people entirely socially exclusive". I don't see how you're getting that conclusion. They were obviously influenced greatly by foreign cultures however.

3. Most of the Swahili city-states were Bantu groups with Arab and Persian influence and a smaller portion of some of the cities would have been mixed as Chittick notes in the statement I quoted earlier. Mogadishu however was (and still is) a Somali city and the sources are quite clear on that. I simply referenced what a source (Ibn Battuta) who met the ruler of Mogadishu states explicitly about the ruler's background and about the people of the city because you mentioned that city (Mogadishu) specifically when putting forward your "thousand years or more of Arab Islamic imperialist invader tyranny" narrative. I was not saying that all the Swahili city-states were Somali at all.

'On the coastal section of the African Great Lakes region, another mixed Bantu community developed through contact with Muslim Arab and Persian traders, leading to the development of the mixed Arab, Persian and African Swahili City States. The Swahili culture that emerged from these exchanges evinces many Arab and Islamic influences not seen in traditional Bantu culture, as do the many Afro-Arab members of the Bantu Swahili people. With its original speech community centered on the coastal parts of Tanzania (particularly Zanzibar) and Kenya - a seaboard referred to as the Swahili coast - the Bantu Swahili Language contains many Arabic loan-words as a consequence of these interactions.'

And i was not trying to portray anything, shirley? I simply portrayed what i portrayed. And it is for people to decide for themselves, the value therein. I am pretty confident they will tend to agree with that.'
Dreuxeng, I said that I believe that you were "shirley" trying to portray a certain picture of the area that is at variance with what the evidence available suggests for the periods prior to the late 18th and the 19th centuries. If you weren't trying to portray that, then fine, I misinterpreted what your point was.

How does he know there were only "few in number" ?? The sources are so...
And then "probably"... All not really very academically convincing surely?
Chittick studied the sources for years and that was his idea of what "likelihood, and possibility" was like for that area. Not that I even agree with everything he wrote. I was just giving you an academic source so that you see that what I suggesting about these societies is not merely my own opinion.

Zanj is an Arabic term...but may be referencing these kinds of other peoples. But maybe not.
As I said, the opinion of the most up do date works is that those particular slaves were mostly Negrito, and not black African.

Because their adopting the practice of using such coinage, while another sign of foreign influence, simply does not prove that the region was an "Arab Islamic imperialist invader" dominated society under "Arab tyranny" for a thousand years or more. Cultural influences happen over time when different cultures meet. That's how things go, but what you claimed doesn't necessarily follow from the use of coinage.
 
Last edited:

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,594
Benin City, Nigeria
#13
The Swahili or Kilwa Sultanate '...was a medieval sultanate, centered at Kilwa, whose authority, at its height, stretched over the entire length of the Swahili Coast. It was founded in the 10th century by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi, a Persian prince of Shiraz'. The Sultanate exported among many other things enslaved peoples.
This Ali ibn al Hassan Shirazi was stated to be half Persian and half Abyssinian.

The description of KIlwa by Duarte Barbosa emphasizes its trade in gold. Yes a slave trade would have existed, but the main focus of its trade at that time seems to have been gold.
 
Likes: Askiathegreat
Sep 2015
1,805
England
#14
Source - Public Health in British India: A Brief Account of the History of Medical Services and Disease Prevention in Colonial India

'‘The slave trade has gone on since the time of Noah, it was God’s will and it was useless to attempt to change it. The practice [was]… a part of the natural order of the universe.’ (Hazell 110).

‘The network to supply the slaves had evolved over centuries. It was enormous and complex, consisting of hundreds even thousands, of intermediaries across two continents. Beginning perhaps with a trader in a village near Lake Nyasa, the chain might end with a broker in a town in Persia several thousand miles away. Its persistence was due to its very informality, its involvement with the trading of other goods, and a widespread and constant demand from households, markets, small farms, businesses and craftsmen across a vast area.' (ibid 130).

‘By an act of will, she [Mrs Kirk] refused to see what would otherwise have destroyed her peace of mind, what might have made life in Zanzibar intolerable.’ (ibid 117).

'It was resilient, perhaps because it was so hidden'. (ibid 129)
 
Dec 2018
35
Brasil
#15
'Portugal's main goal on the Swahili coast was to take control of the spice trade from the Arabs.'

The Portuguese were interested in the rich commerce of the Indian Ocean, dominated at that time by the dhow and Islamic Arabic or Indian merchants and traders. After a brief period of dominance during the 1500s the Portuguese soon fell into conflict with the Dutch and the Omani Arabs, and it was the latter that succeeded, by about 1730, in expelling the Portuguese from the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts.
Arabs controlling Indian Ocean trade doesn't mean controlling the coast. They just came along in the coast to trade, as swahilis went there to trade. It seems unlikely that Swahili Coast were controlled by Middle-Easterns, otherwise they would speak arabic as berbers did in Maghreb and Egypt after Arab Conquest. The architecture would be, as in North Africa, totally Middle Eastern, while between swahilis It seems only highly inspired, but many features are different. Even the coins are not likely to be the same as used by arabs, berbers and andalusians, but inspired, and cowry shells, used as currency, were found in many palaces and settlements. Plus there is no reason for imperialist arab colonizers speak a bantu language and assimilate. Both chronicles of Kilwa were very late and are not considered reliable, with political and religious influence, as muslims they would claim such ancestry (Arab, Oman, Persia) to be somehow closer to the phophet.

So it's clear, think of Swahili Coast as ancient greek city states: Heavily inspired by Near East, but yet considered indigenous development.
 
Jun 2013
865
Universe
#17
Still amazing to encounter such total, utter & absolute nonsense and lunacy.

In reality the eastern African coast and areas of the interior suffered an Arab islamic imperialist invasion, and tyranny, for a thousand years and more, until the 1870s. It became a slave based Islamic (dominant) colonialist region, from Mogadishi to Comoro, which, in addition to slave raiding (as far as the Congo) also exported slaves into the entire Islamic middle-east and beyond, including Hindustan (and for domestic use as it would seem to be the case in today's Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon etc via maids/servants). They were expert sailors, and traded all sorts of stuff, including plenty of ivory, but slaves were the main items on the Zanzibar customs tax list - as per the Barbary kingdoms, and interior chieftainships: there were thousands sometimes tens of thousands exported every year, while a percentage were retained for the coastal plantations and cities etc. And of course many died on the way to the coast or thereafter etc etc. A catastrophically dark era as far as I can work out so far.
As someone who thoroughly researches Swahili history/civilization/culture I can easily refute this but it would require a lot of time and I feel this post is not worthy. There wasn't an Arab(Omani) occupation of the Swahili Coast(mainly Zanzibar which wasn't important until later) until after the Portuguese who came very late.
 
Jun 2013
865
Universe
#18
Also no one really controlled the Indian Ocean trade. One can argue that people of Great Zimbabwe controlled it since they had a monopoly on gold which was an important commodity.
 
Jun 2013
865
Universe
#19
This Ali ibn al Hassan Shirazi was stated to be half Persian and half Abyssinian.

The description of KIlwa by Duarte Barbosa emphasizes its trade in gold. Yes a slave trade would have existed, but the main focus of its trade at that time seems to have been gold.

Addressing the Shirazi Persian theory most historians today actually believe it to be a myth developed recently during the Omani occupation of Zanzibar because the locals wanted to separate themselves from the Arabs while still having an "important status." And so they adopted a Persian identifier because they felt it would "legitimize" them more so than the Bantu/African identifier. This is similar to some N. Sudanese people claiming an Arab origin for themselves. Especially the Janjaweed.
 
Sep 2015
1,805
England
#20
Addressing the Shirazi Persian theory most historians today actually believe it to be a myth developed recently during the Omani occupation of Zanzibar because the locals wanted to separate themselves from the Arabs while still having an "important status." And so they adopted a Persian identifier because they felt it would "legitimize" them more so than the Bantu/African identifier. This is similar to some N. Sudanese people claiming an Arab origin for themselves. Especially the Janjaweed.
An Abbasid derivation? But perhaps this is also "not worthy", of your evidently vast intellect and deep scholarship!? My having merely referred to the Kilwa Sultanate, and some further advanced academic enquiry on the topic.

That would be...

I don't...

,
 

Similar History Discussions