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East Africa

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Chapter Summary

The eighteenth century was-despite many shocks and convulsions-not such a difficult period but, as argued above, generalizations on the level of the sea as whole do not necessarily tell us much about individual regions or ports. Though the long series of ports strung along the Mrina Coast certainly owed much of their existence to commerce, this was the case mainly along the coast. At first sight Delagoa Bay was pleasant enough; it was a vast open plain with green fields, with scattered low trees and bushes. In the seventeenth century the Dutch aptly described the Portuguese capital on the island of Mozambique a "village," and the city was in the eighteenth century still quite a small settlement. The port of access to the mighty Zambezi was Quelimane, but rather than a true port, Quelimane was an impenetrable maze of sandbanks and swallows.

Keywords: Delagoa Bay; Mozambique; Mrina Coast; Zambezi



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