Period 4 Swahili Coast Essay

Submitted By Ross-Piscitello
Words: 363
Pages: 2

The Swahili Coast
(p.182-183)
Group 2

Because of Islamic Expansion and arrival of Indian Ocean Traders (made possible because of monsoons),
Swahili became a rich and diverse trading state.

- Movement of Africans from west side to the southeast side -Term used to Africans in South, East, West Africa.
-Society of leader and family
-Polytheistic
-Speak common language
-Skilled in metalwork

Interaction with Islamic World
~7th century: Arabs/Persians begin contact with Swahili
~ 9th century: Swahilis become involved in trade
~ Merchants spread Islamic religion
+Caused “class” difference
+Trade advantages
+Merge with Bantu religions

Flourishing of Swahili
Trade → Rich, Diverse State
- luxurious towns: coral/stone, mosques, palaces - treasures from China and Persia
- Sultan’s palace more than 100 rooms
- Kilwa: population 10,000 by 1500’s
- growth of culture

Swahili Politics
Independent city states
Sultans- more like business men, rich from taxes
Traders- “middlemen” Government ←→ People
Farmers, craftsmen etc - paid taxes
Slaves- worked for Sultans

Swahili Religion
● Islam brought by Arabs
● Upper Class (leadership) - converted after having lost hope in the style of life; wanted power; Islam = way of life ● Lower classes (farmers) - maintained traditional African beliefs ● Large Mosques
○ domes and cloisters
● c. 1362 Jihad declared
○ Intended to unite under Islam
○ Successful? Compromise...cross-pollination

Swahili Society
-Language: Bantu mixed with Arabic to form Swahili language -Different states, different system
(usually nobility rules commoners)
-Relationships and Roles
a.) Family Roles
b.) Men and Women
c.) Different…