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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mosques, Merchants and Landowners in Zanzibar Stone Town
Author:Sheriff, Abdul
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Zanzibar
East Africa
Subjects:economic history
urban history
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
Urbanization and Migration
History, Archaeology
urban development
social history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672709209511428
Abstract:In the old 'Stone Town' of Zanzibar west of the former creek there are about fifty mosques, mostly built during the 19th century. By studying these mosques, this paper reconstructs the growth and the economic and social history of the town. It demonstrates that merchants as well as landowners supported the construction of mosques and that the construction of mosques was an important aspect of urban development. An examination of the growth of Zanzibar town shows that, from the latter part of the 18th century, Zanzibar began to develop as the centre of a commercial empire based on the twin foundations of transit trade and plantation agriculture. The history of the mosques can be divided into several phases, of course with some overlap. First the Sunni mercantile tradition and the mosques built during this phase are described. By the 1840s, a new phase is discernible in mosque construction, a phase dominated by the Ibadhi tradition with its unique architectural features reflecting Ibadhi dogmas and practices. Finally, attention is paid to Ibadhi-Sunni interaction. Notes, ref.