[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: Sailing Down Africa's East Coast

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

On Thu, 10 Dec 1998, Neil Maclay wrote:

> Sir Dafydd ( I hope I got it right this time!),
> Your source may very well be correct when it states that Arab trade did 
> not go below Zanzibar during the middle ages. But Zanzibar is pretty far 
> down the east coast of Africa.

Found my author's name -- Colin McEvedy.

Ya, I looked at a map this morning before coming to school -- Zanzibar is
about half-way down Africa, depending upon where you start measuring.

So it sounds like our sources had a difference in definitions -- my source
was concerned with cultural contacts between the Arabs and cultures of
Madagascar and below, which it claimed did not exist in the medieval
period.  When it was using "East Coast of Africa" it was not including the
north half of the coast.  In a previous paragraph it had already mentioned
the Arabs colonizing the coast but the inland kingdoms of Abyssinnia and
Nubia were Christian, and thus resistant to more than minor trade contact
with the Arabs, so in the broader context it seems that McEvedy's regions
make sense (splitting Africa into three regions: Egypt/Northern, entirely
Arab Islamic; Nubia and Abyssinia, with Christian Inland/Arabic Coastal;
and the cultures of Madagascar etc. which were out of the reach and
cognizance of the Arabs of the time.

Which means, of course, that this confusion is partly my fault for quoting
McEvedy out of context -- if I had mentioned his coverage of the cultures
of Nubia and Abyssinia it would have been clear that any "Eastern" Africa
he described different from them would necessarily have to be South of


who wants to visit Zanzibar, and Timbuktu.

List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://merryrose.atlantia.sca.org/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org