Zanzibar Is The Bagdad, The Ispahan, The Stamboul, If You Like, Of
It is the great mart which invites the ivory traders
from the African interior.
To this market come the gum-copal, the
hides, the orchilla weed, the timber, and the black slaves from
Africa. Bagdad had great silk bazaars, Zanzibar has her ivory
bazaars; Bagdad once traded in jewels, Zanzibar trades in
gum-copal; Stamboul imported Circassian and Georgian slaves;
Zanzibar imports black beauties from Uhiyow, Ugindo, Ugogo,
Unyamwezi and Galla.
The same mode of commerce obtains here as in all Mohammedan
countries - nay, the mode was in vogue long before Moses was born.
The Arab never changes. He brought the custom of his forefathers
with him when he came to live on this island. He is as much of an
Arab here as at Muscat or Bagdad; wherever he goes to live he
carries with him his harem, his religion, his long robe, his shirt,
his slippers, and his dagger. If he penetrates Africa, not all the
ridicule of the negroes can make him change his modes of life. Yet
the land has not become Oriental; the Arab has not been able to
change the atmosphere. The land is semi-African in aspect; the
city is but semi-Arabian.
To a new-comer into Africa, the Muscat Arabs of Zanzibar are
studies. There is a certain empressement about them which we must
admire. They are mostly all travellers. There are but few of
them who have not been in many dangerous positions, as they
penetrated Central Africa in search of the precious ivory; and
their various experiences have given their features a certain
unmistakable air of-self-reliance, or of self-sufficiency; there
is a calm, resolute, defiant, independent air about them, which
wins unconsciously one's respect.
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