Kilwa Empire

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The Kilwa Empire was part of a somewhat large, empire built by the Iranian Bazrangids. It became an independent geographic and political entity after Ardashir I of the Sassanid Empire conquered its parent Bazrangi state in southern Persia in 224. Emperor Ardashir's successor, Shapur I, annexed the southern shores of the Persian Gulf, as well as the region of Muscat on the Indian Ocean. This led to the removal of all final vestiges of Bazrangi independence on the Asian continent.

Zoroastrian fire temples within the Kilwa Empire were preserved as a result of Bazrangi custodians. Sassanian sources, which include rock inscriptions and documents, discuss how the Bazrangids served important custodial functions at the Great Temple of the goddess Anahita in Istakhr (near Persepolis). The Kilwa Empire prospered even during the early Islamic era. However, the capital city of Kilwa was under siege by members of the native populations of East Africa. The city fell and nearly 2,000 of its inhabitants were killed in a single week.[citation needed] In 980, the Kilwa Sultanate was founded by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi and succeeded the Kilwa Empire.

Recent archaeological searchings in the old Kilwa important sites such as Unguja, Tumbatu, Mtambwe, and Mkumbuu are giving hope on the history of the Bazrangid's founding of the Kilwa Empire and its status as a maritime power.


  • Periplus Maris Erythraei (translated and edited by Lionel Casson). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.
  • Reusch, Richard. History of East Africa. New York: Ungar, 1961.
  • Gervase, Matthew (edited by Matthew Gervase and Oliver Roland). The East African Coast until the Coming of the Portuguese, History of East Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963.

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