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Swahili coast facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Swahili coast
Swahili coast
Countries Kenya
Tanzania
Mozambique
Somalia
Comoros
Major Cities Dar es Salaam (Mzizima)
Malindi
Mombasa
Sofala
Ethnic groups
 • Bantu Swahili

The Swahili coast is a coastal area of the Indian Ocean in Southeast Africa inhabited by the Swahili people. It mainly consists of Kenya, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique as well as southern Somalia. In addition, several coastal islands are included in the Swahili coast such as Zanzibar and Comoros. Areas of what is today considered the Swahili coast were historically known as Azania or Zingion in the Greco-Roman era, and as Zanj or Zinj in Middle Eastern, Chinese and Indian literature from the 7th to the 14th century.

The word "Swahili" means people of the coast in Arabic and is derived from the word "sahil" (coast). The Swahili people and their culture formed from a distinct mix of African and Arab origins. The Swahilis were traders and merchants and readily absorbed influences from other cultures. Historical documents including the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and works by Ibn Battuta describe the society, culture, and economy of the Swahili coast at various points in its history. The Swahili coast has a distinct culture, demography, religion and geography, and as a result - along with other factors, including economic - has witnessed rising secessionism.

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