The rise of Islam furthered commercial expansion in the Indian Ocean,
but East Africa was not much affected until the twelfth century, when a wave
of Arab and Persian commercial colonists begantransforming primitive trading
settlements into flourishing Muslim commercial cities.

During the peak period of Swahili civilization, between 1200 and 1500,
the east coast was studded with thirty-seven city-states along the 1500 miles
between Mogadishu in the north and Sofala in the south.


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