Kilwa Kisiwani, South Coast, Tanzania
Kilwa Kisiwani was once the most famous trading post in East Africa. In 9th century the Swahili owner of the island sold it to a trader called Ali bin Al-Hasan. From 11th Century to early 15th Ali bin Al-Hasan managed to create a powerful city (Kilwa Kisiwani) and as major trading center along east African coast. He built a great mosque, established close trading links to interior of southern Africa .
Kilwa Kisiwani became the principle trading port on the Indian Ocean. Its wealth came from the exchange of gold and iron from Great Zimbabwe and other part of Southern Africa, ivory and slaves from mainland Tanzania with textiles, Jewelry, porcelain and spices from Asia.
By the 13th Century Kilwa had become the most powerful city on the East African Coast, exercising political and trading domination as far as Pemba Island in the north and the modern Beira in Mozambique in south .
The outside world came to know Kilwa through Ibn Batuta who had visited Kilwa in 1331, and the Portuguese sailors who visited the place about 170 years after Batuta.
© Eric Lafforgue