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Medieval Authors about East Africa
By Pieter Derideaux

No Books have appeared on this subject for many years. This is strange as a number have appeared concerning West Africa. To fill this void I try making these texts available to everybody. When using these texts; (in e.g. articles or on a website) please mention my name; I worked years on collecting - translating them. No commercial use allowed.


Pieter Derideaux


Color Code
Muslim World
Chinese Empire
Christian World
India (Muslim+Hindu)
South East Asian States
Neighboring African States



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As illustration only are added here some examples of inscriptions found in East Africa. They are not connected with the list of authors on the left side of the page. But they are also an important source of information about the history of the Swahili. More examples are added as illustrations on specifiek webpages. But I do not give a comprehensive list. And such a list does not exist either.  

Inscription Tuaka Kilindini Mombasa


Epigraph; Mwana wa Bwana binti Mwidani d. 29 Rajab AH 866 / 29 April AD 1462 from Tuaka near Kilindini, Mombasa Island. The Arabic inscription invokes Gods mercy and protection.

Kilwa Aisha tomb inscription


Kilwa Kisiwani; Among the graves of the Sultans: The tomb of Aisha.

And the epitaph on a narrow stele which belonged to the grave, partly erased of Sayyida Aisha bint Mawlana Amir Ali b. Mawlana Sultan Sulayman d. AH 761 / AD 1359-60 or AH 961/ AD 1553-4

Kaole Bangamoyo pillar tombs



The Pillar tombs of Kaole 5 km south of Bagamoyo. One Pillar Tomb of the 14th century? Badly erased epitaph and inscription on the side, located in the old cemetery. And nearby an epitaph with a Quranic text similar in style as the previous one also perhaps 14th century.