Book Reviews hili coast, and the historical parallels between the two regions, there does not seem to have been much commercial or cultural interaction between the two. Miran's book is full of examples of Sufi brotherhoods, family connections, and trade routes that link Massawa to the Mediterranean and to Southwest and South Asian parts of the Indian Ocean, but there is hardly a mention of any such linkages with the Swahili world. One wonders if this is an oversight by the author or represents a precursor of the contemporary phenomenon of African nations often having stronger commercial connections to their former colonizers than to their neighbors. In fact the similarities between the port that Miran describes and ports like Zanzibar, Aden, Mombasa, and even Bombay or Singapore suggest that Miran's work in Massawa may lend itself to the creation of a template or typology of colonial era ports in the western Indian Ocean and perhaps more broadly in the entire Indian Ocean. The cosmopolitanism that he notes there seems to be a feature of any number of Indian Ocean ports in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the book represents a major contribution to the literature on
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 4, 2011
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