Kenya // The Coast //

The Wa-Shirazi


The people of Shirazi call themselves Wa-Shirazi and are the descendants of a once-important group of the Swahili-speaking people. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they ruled the coast from Tiwi to Tanga from their eight settlements on the shore, one of which is believed to have been this village. Around 1620, these towns were captured by the Wa-vumba, another Swahili group. The Wa-Shirazi, now scattered in pockets along the coast, speak a distinctive dialect of Swahili. Historians used to think that they originally emigrated from Shiraz, in Persia, but it now seems likely that very few of them have Persian ancestry and that the name was adopted for political reasons.

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