Swahili Culture Reconsidered: Some historical implications of the material culture of the northern Kenya Coast in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

There was a major economic and cultural renaissance in the northern Swahili world between c. 1700 and 1885 coinciding with Pate’s political supremacy and declining when Oman asserted itself in the region and Indian and Western commerce began to intrude. Evidence for this renaissance can be found not only in the abundant architectural remains but in the opulence of the material culture generally. It must have been financed from three sources: products found in or near the coastal towns; natural products brought from the interior; and agriculture and trade in livestock when political conditions on the mainland permitted. An examination of the material remains and of the 18th and 19th century economy reveals that Swahili society was at this time far more homogeneous than has generally been assumed. (Source: ASC Documentation).

Title: Swahili Culture Reconsidered: Some historical implications of the material culture of the northern Kenya Coast in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Author: Allen, J.d.V.
Year: 1974
Periodical: Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Volume: 9
Pages: 105-138
Geographic term: Kenya
Discipline: History – General
Abstract: There was a major economic and cultural renaissance in the northern Swahili world between c. 1700 and 1885 coinciding with Pate’s political supremacy and declining when Oman asserted itself in the region and Indian and Western commerce began to intrude. Evidence for this renaissance can be found not only in the abundant architectural remains but in the opulence of the material culture generally. It must have been financed from three sources: products found in or near the coastal towns; natural products brought from the interior; and agriculture and trade in livestock when political conditions on the mainland permitted. An examination of the material remains and of the 18th and 19th century economy reveals that Swahili society was at this time far more homogeneous than has generally been assumed. (Source: ASC Documentation).