The Missionary Factor in East Africa

By Roland Oliver | Go to book overview
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Chapter One


IN 1856 LIVINGSTONE returned to England after crossing Central Africa from the Angolan port of St. Paul de Loanda to the Zambezi delta at Quilimane. At this time European interests in East Africa were concentrated, with one exception, on the island of Zanzibar. During a reign of fifty years just ended, the great Sultan Seyyid Said of Muscat had consolidated his dominion over the Arab-settled towns of the East African coast and had moved his capital to Zanzibar, which had become under his influence the nodal point of trade between East Africa and the outside world. It was through his custom-houses that the traditional exports of the mainland, slaves and ivory and gum-copal, passed into the hands of the Arab and Indian merchants and sea captains who conveyed them to their Asiatic destinations; and by encouraging the cultivation of cloves on the island itself, he had further stimulated a direct trade with the nations of Europe and North America in the small arms and hardware and cloth which were his most-needed imports. By 1856 three American firms, dealing in cheap calico, had agents at Zanzibar and a trade valued at about £250,000 a year. Four German firms, all from Hamburg, brought hardware and did a three-cornered trade by carrying cowrie-shells to West


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The Missionary Factor in East Africa


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