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Swahili (Kiswahili) was created during the tenth century through the merging of Arab and Persian traders with the Bantu-speaking coastal tribespeople along the Indian Ocean. It became the common method for communicating in a land where every African tribal group has its own language. It is spoken and understood by all but the most remote tribes and those who have not attended school. The Swahili people are a distinct "tribe" of their own-the product of centuries of Bantu, Persian and Arab intermarriage. The word Swahili actually derives from the Arabic word sawahiliy, meaning "of (from/belonging to) the coast" or "people of the coast." Originally, the Persians, following the Trade Winds of the Indian Ocean, landed mainly on the southern shores of what is now Somalia, intermarrying with the Bantu people. Their culture was then enriched by later Arab traders, eventually creating a distinct merging of peoples and cultures that have become today's predominantly Moslem Swahili people.

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