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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




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.

pillar tomb mnarani
Mnarani inscriptions mosques

Mnarani ruins (just north of Mombassa on the road to Malindi). A large number of funerary inscriptions can here be seen from tombs of the 15th century.

The ruins are named after its 36-foot mnara or tower of its Pillar Tomb which is visible on the first picture. Also visible on that picture is the mihrab of the great mosque surrounded by carved inscriptions (more than a hundred feet of broken inscriptions). A small part of them are

shown in a detail picture. And the third picture shows some of the inscriptions of the smaller mosque. At Kioni (now Kitoka) (close to Mnarani) in the mihrab was found an inscription in interlacing Kufic (partly shown in 4th picture).


Gedi tomb 1399

Gedi (South of Malindi): The tombstone with the dated inscription AH 802 or AD 1399. The rest of the inscription is not readable.