Swahili City-States



The location of the Swahili City-States is on the east African Coast, and they are also part of the western coast of Madagascar.

Luxury Goods


Luxury goods were plentiful in the city-states, due to its coastal positioning. The good that is pictured is ivory, which would be used for different reasons in the building category. They also traded gold, copper, iron, rare woods, and, of course, there were slaves that were traded as well. Animal skins were also traded, which were probably from the same elephants that were killed in order to get the ivory that they traded.

How Good Entered the City


Due to the positioning of the city-states, everything left and entered the city by boat through the ports. Because the city-states were on the east coast of Africa, they were closer to China than many, so they received different items from there. They also imported weapons, cloth, pottery, and glass from different countries.



The economy of the Swahili City-States was mainly built on fishing, trading, and hunting. This makes sense because of the coastal positioning of them. Fishing was most likely the easiest way to get food, as fish were plentiful in the southwestern Indian Ocean. However, they also hunted animals. This was done for more than just food; many of the exports in the country were gained from animals, such as animal skins and ivory. Trading was their main economic purpose, though, and they traded with the Chinese and others very frequently, making a lot of money off the tax that came with the trade.

Role/Function of the Swahili City-States


Put quite simply, the main function of the city-states was to trade to different countries. They were strategically in between many of the muslim countries and inner African countries in the west and China in the east. This allowed them to export many products made elsewhere. The role of the city was to link the trade of those different countries to each other. They were like the middle man that was required in order to successfully trade products from one side of the eastern world to the other.

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