British Consulate in Zanzibar

Zanzibar's small size belied its power, strenght and influence on East Africa in the Nineteenth Century. It was a crucial trading entrepot that connected the African economy to the Middle Eastern and Indian markets and traders. The Indian Ocean had its own version of the triangular trade which included shipping slaves from the interior of East Africa to the Middle East and India in return for goods and spices. The Arab rulers of Zanzibar controlled this trade but came under intense pressure from Britain to stamp it out and put an end to it. However, the destruction of the Zanzibari slave trade would indeed prove fatal to the strategic and economic power of the Zanzibari economy. It slowly began to fade in importance and be replaced by East African trading entrepots like Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam.

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by Stephen Luscombe