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Changes and Continuities of East Africa Between 1000 Ce and 1500 Ce

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Between 1000 CE and 1500 CE, Islam entered East Africa and trade increased. Many ruling families and merchants converted to the religion and East Africa's language changed, but the roles of women stayed the same and many people in the society continued to worship their traditional religions.

At the beginning of 1000 CE, many people in East Africa traded, but the amount increased significantly when Islam came into power. The Indian ocean sea trade brought Muslim merchants to the East coast of Africa and significantly increased trade for the people living there. The Africans traded fold, slaves, pottery, glass, and textiles. The prosperous economy produced wealth so that public buildings and mosques of coral and stone were built. The ruling elites and wealthy merchants of these trading cities, Kilwa for example, dressed in silk clothes, used beans from India, and set their table with porcelain imported from China. With the spread of Islam, East Africa grew into a thriving trading economy. This was similar to what was happening in other parts of Africa and the world; Islam enters and the economy thrives.

Islam also affected the political aspect of East Africa by influencing many ruling families and wealthy merchants to convert. Before the spread of the religion, East Africa was originally made up of Christian communities, such as Axum and Ethiopia. However, as trade increased from Islamic merchants and settlements grew in wealth, some cities such as Mombusa or Kilwa, developed into powerful city-states governed by a king who supervised trade and organized public life in the region. When Islam entered the region, many of the ruling families and merchants converted to the religion. This was mostly because of the economic benefits involved. Conversion to the Islamic religion allowed for better relations with the Islamic merchants and therefore, more prosperity for the kingdom.

As Islam spread through Eastern Africa, the primary language changed. Arabic spread. In this region, the Bantu language mixed with the Arabic language, creating a new language referred to even in the present day as Swahili. The Quran was written in Arabic so if you wanted to be a Muslim and read the Quran, Arabic had to be learned. Arabic was also the language of the Muslim travelers, important for trade and communication.

Even with all the many changes created because of Islam, the gender roles in East Africa remained the same. At the beginning of 1000 CE, women enjoyed a relatively high status compared to other parts of the world's treatment of women. They could participate in the planting and harvesting of crops and could even engage in long distance trade and combat at organized all-female military unites. Women were not required to wear veils or live in harems like many other Islam women were required to do. Women in East Africa society freely socialized with the men outside their immediate families and had more freedom, even after



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