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 Contacts Between East Africa and the Outside World Upto the 19th Century lessons

Early visitors to the east African coast upto 1500.

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Early visitors to the east African coast upto 1500:
-Due to the great accessibility of the east African coast, there was widespread interaction between it and the people from the outside world. This was also aided by the monsoon winds that blew vessels / ships to the coast between November and April and took them away between May and October.
-The earliest visitors were the Egyptians, Phoenicians and Indonesians. Others who came later on included the Greeks, Persians,
Romans, Chinese, Arabs, Syrians, Indians and the Portuguese.
The Greeks.
-Their coming to east Africa is accounted for by the quarrels between the Seleucid rulers in Greece and the Ptolemaic Greeks in Egypt over control of
the land route to the east through theMediterranean lands.
-The rising demand for ivory made the ptolemies venture into the red sea and finally into the east African coast. Evidence of
Greek existence on the coast is the Ptolemic Gold Coin found near Dar es Salam.
-The Romans as early visitors to the East African Cost. In AD 45, Hippalus, a Roman sailor using monsoon wind knowledge reached the red sea
and entered the Indian Ocean.The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th c AD affected international trading network in the Roman Empire.
-The Persians as Early visitors to the East African Coast.
-They were mainly immigrants from Shirazi on the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf. Their adventure into the east African coast happened during the reign of the Sassanid Dynasty (224-636AD), which was determined to rebuild the Persian Empire that had been destroyed by the Macedonian Greeks, through wealth amassed from international trade.
-By the 6th c , the Persians were trading in India and later china, controlling the red sea and parts of Egypt and Arabia.
-They got involved in the east African trade and even established ruling dynasties9 e.g. the Shirazi Dynasty) at the coast. They intermarried with
the locals and introduced Islamic religion. They were later overthrown by the Arabs. The succeeded in introducing Bowls
of glass, swords, beakers and pots to the coast.
Chinese and Arabs.
-They visited the coast in the middle ages. This is evidenced in the work of the Chinese authors during the Sung Dynasty (960- 1279 AD) and
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), who referred to the east African coast as Tseng- Pat or Pseng-Po.
-There has also been evidence of Chinese coins dating to 700 AD at the coast.
-The last Chinese fleet must have reached Mogadishu in 1430AD.
-The Chinese brought in Silk cloth, porcelain bowls and plates in exchange for Gold\, leopard skin, Rhino Horns and tortoise shells.
Porcelain remains have been found at the coast.
Arabs.
-The earliest Arab settlers to arrive were the Daybui from Daybul In north western India. They arrived along the east African coast by AD 650 for trade. -The earliest Arab settlement was Qanbalu (Pemba). They later settled in manda, Kilwa. Lamu and Mombasa The Arabs reffered to the Africans as the Zenj (Blacks)


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