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About East African Diaspora

East African Diaspora East African Diaspora The East African Diaspora: The Problem with Slaves. Today, people of African descent are present all over the world. This is mostly due to the slave trade that was active from the 16th until the end of the 19th century AD. The dispersion of Africans and their descendants across the world (the African Diaspora) aroused interest in archaeology in the 1970s. The most studied regions today are the Caribbean and both Americas. Substantial investigation has also been conducted in western and southern Africa (Kusimba 2004; Orser 1998). But the African Diaspora remains an enigma in east Africa. Only a few individuals have done any archaeological investigations on this topic in the region. Fortunately, historical studies can provide us with some information (Cooper 1977; Lovejoy 1983; Manning 1990). The East African diaspora can be traced back to three causes: (1) the migration of ethnic groups, like the Zulu, (2) to the slave trade and (3) to climatic changes, which caused wars and forced ethnic groups to abandon certain areas (Kusimba 2004; Lovejoy 1983; Manning 1990). Because of the slave trade, which reached its peak in the 19th century, East Africans are now present on the Arabian peninsula, the Persian Gulf, Pakistan, India and even as far as Bengal (Harris 1971). The major slave traders were the French, Portuguese and the Omani. The Omanis were the main distributors of slaves and almost had a monopoly of this trade on the East coast from Kilwa to the African Horn. Even though slaves were dispersed around the Indian Ocean, most of them remained in Africa. The slaves were brought from the coast's hinterland to towns on the coast, like Zanzibar, Malindi and Mombasa. They worked on plantations, in craft shops or the docks. They were used as administrators, soldiers, eunuchs, concubines or domestic slaves (Cooper 1977; Lovejoy 1983; Manning 1990). Thus, the East African Diaspora is mainly associated with the dispersion of different ethnic groups within Africa. Here I am going to concentrate on what archaeology may expect to find of the diaspora caused by the slave trade in East Africa. I am going to give an account of how this phenomenon has been approached in the Americas, and then I am going to refer to other objects and features that could be evident in the landscape because of the slave trade. Discerning slavery in East Africa has been elusive and in the end a few points will answer why this is so. ## Archaeology and the evidence of the diaspora In both Americas and the Caribbean the archaeology of African Diaspora has been practiced for a few decades now and is quite successful in discovering archaeological sites and providing adequate interpretations for them and the material excavated. This type of archaeology is divided into the archaeology of identity, archaeology of freedom and archaeology of race (Orser 1998) ....
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