oa East African Geographical Review - The ocean-going dhow trade to East Africa

Volume 1966, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1937-6812



This paper is an obituary rather than a review, although since the monsoons of the western Indian Ocean have sustained a maritime circulation in sailing ships for at least two thousand years one cannot be sure. It is only a partial account in other respects: in that the facts and figures presented here concern essentially the declining years of a formerly vigorous trade; and in being written from an East African viewpoint without personal, first-hand knowledge of the countries of origin of most of the seagoing dhows. However, those who wish to travel further back or further afield with the dhows may engage two excellent guides: Hourani (1951) documents the development of Indian Ocean seafaring. from the particular viewpoint of Arab participation, from the earliest evidences up to Vasco da Gama's arrival at Malindi in 1498; and Villiers (1940) provides a vivid narrative of a round journey made on a seasonal dhow between Kuwait and East Africa in the years 1938-9.

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