THE REVOLT OF MOMBASA
Mombasa had become firmly established as a Portuguese settlement during the first few years of the century. A friar who visited the east coast of Africa in 1606 received a very favourable impression of the heavily wooded and agreeable island. The Portuguese residents occupied 70 houses which lined the road leading from the gate of the fortress of Jesus to the Arab town. He was equally impressed by the culture and friendliness of the Sultan and his son. But in the old town, he recorded, lived "Moors who, although formerly rich, now live in utter poverty",1 in such contrasts lie the seeds of revolt.
The main fear at the beginning of the century, however, was of attack from without: lest the growing prosperity of the European settlement invite attack by fellow Europeans. The Portuguese accordingly urged the inhabitants of the islands under their jurisdiction, by threats and by promises, to discourage any foreign vessel from calling for water, wood or provisions, let alone for trade. In this they were largely successful. Two pinnaces which visited Pemba2 and a vessel which called at Lamu3 were soon sent on their way. Actual hostilities, however, were resorted to only against the Ascension and Union which sailed to the East in 1608. After losing company the former ship anchored off the south-west of Pemba to take in water. The source supplied only a few tuns a day. A seaman invited to visit a village in the interior went but failed to return. On the eleventh and last day of watering some 200 natives ambushed the shore party, but managed to kill only one Englishman and wound another. Off the northern end of the island the ship fell in with three pangaios which were attacked without provocation. There was no resistance, and their 50 men were taken aboard the Ascension. While the Englishmen were looting the vessels the Arab leader drew a hidden knife and killed the master; two other officers were wounded; but the seamen overwhelmed the Arabs and spared the lives of only five or six of them. Those killed included members of the family of the Sultan of Malindi and Mombasa.4 After this incident the Swahili of the coast____________________