Swahilis: "Coasters": 3000 B.C.E. - 1000 B.C.E. Location: Eastern Coast of Africa

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[SWAHILI FIELD SCHOOL]

Friends

Bantus
Islamic Empire
Ethiopians
Persians
Safavid Empire
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[OUR SWAHILI COAST]

Technology

Trade was our main source of imports. Islamic merchants brought us gold, ivory, slaves, and other extraordinary items. In return, we were able to supply them with pottery, glass, and textiles from Muslim merchants. Since trade brought wealth to our society, controlled and taxed trade was prominent in many ports along the east coast of Africa.
We started to build our buildings and mosques with wood and dried mud, but as we went through our transformation, we changed our building material to stone and coral to build handsome strong mosques and public buildings.



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[RUINS OF THE GREAT MOSQUE IN KILWA]

Culture

We spoke a Swahili language called "Kiswahili". This was a Bantu language which has thoughts and ideas from the Arabic language. Since our city-state society covers the eastern coast of Africa from Mogadishu to Kilwa, many of us developed dialects, but this did not stop us from talking to each other. Since we traveled from one city state to other city states, we were able to fluently talk to peoples with other dialects.
Some important city states on the east coast were Mogadishu, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Kilwa, Mozambique, and Shofala. At each of these point kings ruled by organizing life and trade. Our city states went under great changes when our great large mosques and other public building were constructed of coral and stone. The wealthy people in our society, most likely the merchants, dressed in silk and had porcelain on their dinner table.
Our complex societies were developed into classes. From the top to the bottom were the ruling elites, military nobles, administrative officials, religious authorities, wealthy merchants, artisans, business entrepreneurs, common people, peasants, and slaves.

Religion

The wealthy people of the Swahili city states converted to the Islamic faith. They still observed their religious and cultural traditions for displaying cultural leadership. However, converting to Islam, maintained the relationship we had with Muslim merchants trading in the Indian Basin.
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[DECLARATION OF FAITH / PRINCIPLE IN ARABIC]
“There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Blog

===Blog Entry One:===Kilwa was a high standard living area due to its large trade profit from gold, ivory, and slaves. Yeah, we were pretty much rich!!! Also, the upper class wore silk and ate luxuriously with Chinese porcelain in there many stories high stone buildings (WOW!) while the common people lived in mud built houses. As Ibn Battuta (THE IBN BATTUTA!!!!) was making his trip to complete his pilgrimage to Mecca, he had stopped in Kilwa for a couple of weeks in 1331. He was waiting for his voyage to be more successful with monsoon winds favoring his direction. Also, when Ibn Battuta was on his way out, he had made a good review on what he thought about our society. He had reported that Middle Eastern scholars were consulting with the rulers to help convey the message of Islam and convert the people to the respectable their faith.

Blog Entry Two:The wealth from trade was used to build vast kingdoms. One of the most famous kingdoms was Zimbabwe. The word zimbabwe meant housing for a chief. In the fifth and sixth century C.E. Zimbabwe took up present day Zimbabwe and Mozambique. At first this kingdom's Zimbabwe been built with wood, but in the ninth century, the zimbabwe had advanced to a stone building display a complex, yet organized society that knew how to spend its wealth. The other great thing about this magnificent city is its establishment of Great Zimbabwe. Great Zimbabwe was a city that was constructed with stone towers, palaces, and public buildings. This city served as the capital of a much larger kingdom. This stone heaven could house up to eighteen thousand people. And just add some more sugar on top, the high officials in Great Zimbabwe were the ones who controlled and taxed trade going out of Africa to other regions of the world. Gold, ivory, slaves, and other products were organized by these officials to flow easily, yet profitably.

Blog Entry Three:
It is very important that everyone to know that there were other people than ourselves to established this society. There was someone who put spark into our nation. These people had herded eastern Africa with their people. They were able to introduce agriculture, cattle herding, and iron metallurgy to the eastern coast. They also helped establish small governed states in the Sub-Saharan. As these population of these people started to grow, they expanded their territory inward and some traveled to islands off shore. The people left on the coast of Africa ended up being us, the Swahilis. But who were these intelligent group of people who are the successors of our society? They are none other than the Bantus themselves. YEAH BANTUS! THANKS FOR YOUR HELP! WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR YOUR FAVOR!

The Wall



WORKS CITED!


Field School: http://swahili.rutgers.edu/gallery/Swahili_Lady1.jpg
Map: http://www.kambakosafaris.com/images/mozambique%20map%20LARGE.jpg
Mosque: http://www.utalii.com/Off_the_normal_path/kilwa.jpg
Arabic Declaration: http://www.wisegorilla.com/images/islamic/0-Islam%20Symbol.jpg
Technology, Religion, Blog Entry One, Blog Entry Two, Blog Entry Three: Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. 3rd ed. New York: The McGraw Hill Companies, 2006.
Culture: "Culture." SwahiliOnline.com. 13 May 2007 <http://www.swahilionline.com/culture.html>.

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