Supplementary Material

When Did the Swahili Become Maritime?: A Reply to Fleisher et al. (2015), and to the Resurgence of Maritime Myopia in the Archaeology of the East African Coast

By Chapurukha M. Kusimba and Jonathan R. Walz

ABSTRACT In this article, we respond to an article by Jeffrey Fleisher et al. (2015) in which they pose the question: When did the Swahili become maritime? We draw from our research findings in coastal and inland Eastern Africa to show that inland African societies were an essential component in the development of Swahili urbanism and maritimity. To understand change in any part of the East African coast requires understanding the entire context of economic, political, and social interaction across the diverse dimensions of this society. By excluding inland Eastern Africa from their analysis, Fleisher et al. omit the interactions between land and sea that were the basis of this society’s development. We conclude that Swahili society resulted from intercommunity interaction, socioeconomic networks, and exploitation of diverse regional resources. [trade, maritime, mosaics, urbanism, Swahili]


Click the links below for further context and information related to the article. You can also read the Appendix to the article here.

1. Early Global Connections: East Africa between Asia, and Mediterranean Europe

2. A conversation with Professor Geraldine Heng, University of Texas

3. Recovering a “Lost” Medieval Africa: Interview with Chapurukha Kusimba, Part I

4. Who Built Africa?: A conversation with Paul Sturtevant on the East African Coast, Part II

5. East Africa: Five Million Years of History: A conversation with Paul Sturtevant on the East African Coast, Part III

6. State Formation and Urbanism in Africa: A conversation with Dr. Amanda Cheney

7. The Swahili of East Africa. A documentary by Chapurukha Kusimba and Sergio Dow

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