> The island of Nzwani was home to the most prosperous kingdom in the Comoros archipelago during the 18th century, having grown as a major port-of-call for European ships which were provisioned and taxed at its main port of Mutsamudu.

I really dig your African History blog for I know next to nothing about Africa at all. It had almost no part in history in school in the 80s in the German Democratic Republic where I came from. And with most later historical books I either focussed on mostly non-African topics like WWII or Africa wasn't even mentioned. One reason for that is Africa was presented as a backwater of Europe, but other continents, too.

So when I heard of an African king who went to Mecca and while he went there, made the gold price fluctuate wherever he came through because he carried so much gold with his travelling entourage, it dawned on me that Africa wasn't so much behind, but just different and later on, colonialized which often means one's own history is deleted. Here you mention now "the most prosperous kingdom": what does this mean? How does it compare to other places, or how does it stand out from its neighbours, exactly?

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As someone who is quite familiar with the concurrent naval history of the Napoleonic wars, it is hard to escape thinking that the global naval war among the European powers must have played a role, if only in inspiring or faciltating opportunism.

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