The Full Wiki

Swahili people: Map

Advertisements
  
  

Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:



The Swahili are a people and culture found on the coast of East Africa, mainly the coastal regions and the islands of Kenyamarker and Tanzania, and north Mozambiquemarker. According to JoshuaProject, the Swahili number is at around 1,328,000. The number of Swahili speakers, on the other hand, numbers at around 90 million people. The name Swahili is derived from the Arabic word Sawahil, meaning "coastal dwellers", and they speak the Swahili language. Tanzania's official language is Swahili. Thus those who live in this country need not learn an additional language. However, those who live elsewhere in East Africa also speak the official languages of their respective countries: English in Kenya, Portuguese in Mozambique, and French in Comoros. Note that only a small fraction of those who use Swahili are first language speakers and even fewer are ethnic Swahilis. This point is often obscured by the Swahili linguistic tradition in which those who speak the language are often called Swahili (Waswahili) regardless of their actual ethnic origins. In other words, the term 'Swahili' can mean 'those who speak Swahili' or it can mean 'ethnic Swahili people'.

Definition

The Swahili are unique Bantu inhabitants of the East African Coast mainly from Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. They are mainly united by culture and under the mother tongue of Kiswahili, a Bantu language. This also extends to Arab, Persian, and other migrants who reached the coast some believe as early as the 7th-8th c. CE, and mixed with the local people there, providing considerable cultural infusion and numerous loan words from Arabic and Persian. Archaeologist, Felix Chami notes the presence of Bantu settlements straddling the East African coast as early as the beginning of the 1st millennium. They evolved gradually from the 6th century onward to accommodate for an increase in trade (mainly with Arab merchants), population growth, and further centralized urbanization; developing into what would later become known as the Swahili City-States.

Religion

Islam established its presence in the East African coast from around 1012 AD, when the traders from the Persian Gulfmarker and the Arabian Peninsula continued to journey to these parts during monsoon seasons and to interact with the local people through trade, intermarriage, and an exchange of ideas. Because of this interaction, most of the Swahili today are Muslim. The unifying force of Islam consolidated into an amalgam of otherwise different ethnicities and provided an enduring common identity for many of the people in coastal East Africa. The Swahili follow a very strict and orthodox form of Islam.

Economy

For centuries the Swahili depended greatly on trade from the Indian Ocean. The Swahili have played a vital role as middle man between east, central and south Africa, and the outside world. Trade contacts have been noted as early as 100 A.D. by early Roman writers who visited the East African coast in the first century. Trade routes extended across Tanzania into modern day Zaire, along which goods were brought to the coasts and were sold to Arab, Indian, and Portuguese traders and even reached as far as China and India. Materials attributed to this network of trade were also found at Great Zimbabwemarker. During the apogee of the middle ages, ivory and slaves became a substantial source of revenue. Many slaves sold in Zanzibar ended up in Brazil, which was then a Portuguese colony. Swahili fishermen of today still rely on the ocean to supply their primary source of income. Fish is sold to their inland neighbors in exchange for products of the interior.

See also



References

  1. Swahili people listing - JoshuaProject, Retrieved on 2007-08-28
  2. Swahili People
  3. Gilbert. Coastal East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean
  4. African Archaeological Review, Volume 15, Number 3, September 1998 , pp. 199-218(20)
  5. Swahili Sailors in Early China
  6. The Story of Africa - BBC


External links



  1. Swahili people listing - JoshuaProject, Retrieved on 2007-08-28
  2. Swahili People
  3. Gilbert. Coastal East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean
  4. African Archaeological Review, Volume 15, Number 3, September 1998 , pp. 199-218(20)
  5. Swahili Sailors in Early China
  6. The Story of Africa - BBC



Embed code:
Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message