AFRICAN AND EXTERNAL WORLD
EARLY CONTACTS WITH THE MIDDLE EAST AND FAR EAST
The contacts with the middle east and far east began as early as 200BC. The early foreigners to visit the African coast were people from Asia including countries like Syria, Arabia, India, Burma, Thailand, China, Spice Islands and Egypt from North Africa
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL MOTIVES OF THE CONTACT BETWEEN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE FAR AFRICA.
- TRADE ACTIVITES
The traders were interested to control trade along the African coast. The environment of East Africa coast through Indian ocean attracted the traders. The accessibility of East African coast by the sea enable the coastal societies to make commercial contact with the outside world. The commercial contact covered the whole area East Africa Coast via Sofala.
Also the natural harbour attracted the traders to settlement at the coast. Monsoon winds helped people from Asia to reach East Africa, South West monsoon winds blow ships to African coast between November and April while North East Monsoon between May-Oct would take them back to their countries.
Items from middle East and far East African coast were cotton cloth, silk, porcelain, glassware, beads,daggers, swords, ornaments, wheat, wine, rice,coconuts, dates, etc.
From East Africa they obtained valuable such as animal skins, rhinoceros horns, Ivory, Gold , Cowries shell, Copper, Bee wax, honey and slaves.
II)EXPLORATION/INVESTIGATION OF AFRICA
The people from middle East and Far East were interested to know about the East Africa coast. Example Accessibility of the coast and market for their goods.
They were also interested to find different goods which were needed in Asia.
The exploration done in Africa was recorded in Different books and were the major sources of information attracted people from outside to come to Africa.
III)THE NEED OF SPREADING ISLAM
Some visitors come to spread the Islamic religion in Africa. The Islamic religion was spread from 7th C and spread to other parts through the Holly wars known as “JIHADS”. The war resulted into more prosperous of Islamic Kingdom of Empires. Many muslims Arabs from middle East and far East visited African coast aiming to Islamising the African people.
- SEARCHING OF NEW TRADIN CENTERS/SETTLEMENT
Early visitors were interested to establish settlement along the East African coast and the horn of Africa in order to control the trade.
During 10th C and 11th C they began to penetrate the Awash Valley towards the highlands of Ethiopia. The Muslims Arabs managed to set up small trading settlements which they used to link the external trade to interior trade, later they attracted other traders to come and settle in the Coast.
THE SOCIAL EFFECTS OF THE CONTACTS BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF AFRICA, THE MIDDLE EAST AND FAR EAST.
I)EMERGENCE OF SWAHILI LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
Bantu and Arabs traders were in contact and each group used their own language during communication. Later on new language was formed known as SWAHILI which is a mixture of Bantu language and Arabic language. As time went on the coast people formed new style of life known as “SWAHILI CULTURE”.
II)SPREAD OF ISLAMIC RELIGION AND CULTURE
The Islamic religion was spread in the coastal of East Africa and later on to the interior peacefully. The coastal towns were ruled by Islamic religion under the Islamic law (SHARIA). Islamic religion mosques were built and festival were held. The Quran and the Islamic law (SHARIA) became the legal system of coastal towns.
The African women began to wear long robes and cover their hairs and faces with veils while man started to wear robes and turbans. Also they started eating rice and foods full of spices using porcelain bowers .etc.
- GROWTH OF CITY STATES AND TOWNS
Several towns were formed in the coastal areas. Mostly endowed with good natural harbor while other were located in the Island. Example of these towns and cities were Mogadishu, Pemba, Mombasa, Pate, Lamu, Malindi, Mafia , Kilwa and etc.
COASTAL CITY STATES: