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Swahili City States

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Elizabeth Mol

on 5 December 2014

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Transcript of Swahili City States

Origins of Civilization
Factors that led to Rise
Extent of the Empire's Reach
Cultural Developments
Religious Developments
Governing Structure
Impact/Importance of Trade
Causes of Decline
Hunter West, Lauren Lutz, Zach Kelley, Elizabeth Mol
The earliest Swahili culture developed in the Tana Valley and the Lamu Islands, from Bantu speaking population around the sixth century.
Because of the interactions that happened with the Arab and Somali people attempting to convert others, Islam emerged as a unifying force on the coast and helped to form a unique Swahili identity.
The city states were found along the east coast of Africa from modern day Somalia to Mozambique.
The city states covered approximately 1500 miles.
All Swahili city states were very important trading centers with many trade routes.
The Swahili city-states growth was due largely to the increase in trade along the Indian Ocean Basin. Merchants traded gold, slaves and ivory for pottery, glassware, and textiles from Persia, India and China. City-states were governed by kings, who controlled the trade, as well as the taxes.
Being Swahili is connected to being Muslim ( you can’t be Swahili without following Muslim practice/beliefs). Swahili Muslims recognize the five pillars of faith that are basic to Islamic practice around the world: 1) Belief in Allah as the Supreme Being and in Muhammad as the most important prophet. 2) Praying five times a day 3) Fasting from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan. 4) giving charity. 5) Making a pilgrimage (hajj) to the holy city of Mecca, if able.
Swahili relied on their trade, merchants were very wealthy and wore nice clothes of the best cloth.
1000 to 1500 AD, a number of city-states on the eastern coast of Africa participated in an international trade network and became cosmopolitan Islamic cultural centers.
Invasion by Dutch and Portuguese.
Some states became European colonies such as Dutch and Portuguese.
Some interior kingdoms took over the land trade, reducing trade of the coastal city states.
The Swahili provided the Asian and Mediterranean world, gold, ivory, furs, slaves, tortoise shell, and rhinoceros horns for Persian rugs, Chinese Porcelain, and many more items. They manufactured cotton cloth, glass and shell beads for trade with East Africa.
Although the Fatimid dinar was the currency of international trade, the Swahili minted their own coins in silver and copper. The Swahili had an extensive trade network; this included the Red Sea to Egypt, Oman on the Arabian Peninsula, Shiraz in Persia, Goa and Cambay in India, and China. This large trade network allowed for more income, which helped it rise.
These places started out with small productions of goods to trade but soon intensified their small-scale agricultural economies to create an abundance of trading.
The City-States exported natural resources
Kilwa and Mogadishu also developed a local textile industry, and extracted copper from nearby mines. All of the states produced pottery. Iron working had evolved in East Africa before the rise of the city states, but they improved the process and produced iron objects for trade as well as local use.
Disruption of trade routes by Portuguese. They took over trade to use for their own benefit.
By the end of the 14th century, architecture of the city-states followed similar styles and construction techniques. Coral stone and concrete mosques also developed in the city-states. The architecture also reflected a luxurious lifestyle for the merchant class and a complex economy with varying levels of craftsmanship and expertise.
Fun Facts about the Swahili city states
Swahili is an African language (their native language), and the ways coastal religious beliefs and cultural patterns have come to embrace both local practices and foreign influences.
The Swahili city-states depended greatly on trade, to allow themselves a stable government.
The Swahili ports acted as a middleman between foreign traders and inland Africans, which allowed for even more profit.
The several seaports on the African Great Lakes Coast region prospered due to the profit of their sales.
Rulers of the Swahili city-states were wealthy due to the taxes on the goods that passed through their ports.
The rulers acted more as business managers, rather than governors.
Each port developed a city-state form of government.
A city-state is an independent state made up of a city and its surrounding area.
During the 10th century, the Swahili city-states were culturally influenced by surrounding people, and their new ways of life.
The Swahili people based their culture off of the Bantu culture, but were shaped greatly by the Middle Eastern, Persian, Indian, and Portuguese cultures.
Since the Swahili city-states were important seaports, they met many different people and exchanged many ideas.
Arab and Persian merchants traded on the Swahili coast, mixing with the people.
They spoke the language of Swahili that originated from the Niger-Congo family.
The Swahili people found arts very significant. They used geometric shapes rather than recognizable objects
Multicultural influences can be found in their architecture and furniture.
The most popular type of music in this area was taarab.
The major self-governing, but symbiotic city-states stretched over 1,500 miles from Mogadishu (in modern day Somalia) in the north to Sofala (in modern Mozambique) in the south and included Mombasa, Lamu, Malindi, Zanzibar, and Kilwa.
The Swahili follow a very strict and orthodox form of Islam.
For Swahili people, Islam encompasses more than just spiritual beliefs and practices; Islam is a way of life.
They celebrated holidays such as Zanzibar Revolution Day, Labor Day, Saba Saba (Farmers Day), and Union Day.
They called themselves Waswahili.
The eight city-states of Swahili include, Mogadishu, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Kilwa, Mozambique, and Sofala. They were major sea ports that were used for trade from 500-1500 AD. The Swahili people occupied a narrow strip of coastal land extending from the north coast of Kenya to Dar es Salaam (the capital of Tanzania). Due to much trade in and out of the ports, the Swahili city-states prospered from profits.
Swahili are all Muslims. They became Muslim through the influence of people coming from the north and also from across the Indian Ocean. They have many economic, political, and social ties with Middle Eastern Muslims.
Women often wore bright cotton clothes, and men wore striped clothes.
Their food was highly spiced, and had Indian, Middle eastern, and African influences.
Literature came much earlier to the Swahili coast than to other parts of the continent.
Jobs that the Swahili people may have had was fishing, farming, and trading.
Between 1050-1200 a wave of immigration from Persia occurred causing a southern migration from Shungwaya and Lamu to Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia, and Kilwa.
This shift in trade changed the society of these villages- there became more wealth and an elite merchant class.
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