Hearing the sound of the Flute from Zanzibar: Migrating communities and slave trade routes in the Indian Ocean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

During the nineteenth century, the growth in the volume of trade managed by the Asian mercantile communities, with the consent of the Arabs and the military protection of the Asian soldiers, inevitably led to a gradual but progressive weakening of the African populations. These lost their trade monopolies and their most deeply-rooted social and cultural traditions underwent traumatic changes. Entire squadrons of Asian soldiers settled in the interior of the African continent at Tabora and at Kigoma, on Lake Tanganyika. In this same century Asian troops together with the soldiers called shihiri, from Hadhramaut, fought also against the Nyamwezi in the region of the Unyanyembe. Other Asians warriors joined the caravans which traded with the interior, travelling as far as the Congo. On Zanzibar, instead, a gradual process of osmosis occurred which often linked magical practices with the precepts of the Koran, resulting in a political-social mix and management of power that reflect a multiplicity of cultural roots. This intermingling also gave impetus to commercial activity, to the point that the British explorer and adventurer, Richard Francis Burton, defined the island of Zanzibar as: "the depot of the richest trade in Eastern Africa".
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSlaving Zones
Pages205-223
Number of pages19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Slave Trade, Indian Ocean, Africa

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