portuguese zanzibar english
MOMBASA, or less correctly MOMBAS, the Manta of the Sawahili, a town on the east coast of Africa, in 4° 4' S. lat., with the best harbour on all the Zanzibar mainland. The coralline island of which it occupies the eastern portion is 3 miles long by 21 broad, and lies in the middle of a double inlet of the sea stretching northward into Port Tudor (so called after the English officer who surveyed it) and westward into Port Reitz (after the English resident who died while exploring the Pangani river in 1823). Except at the western end, the coast of the island consists of cliffs from 40 to 60 feet high. In the vicinity of the town palms, mangoes, guavas, baobabs, and cinnamon-trees flourish abundantly, and farther to the west are stretches of virgin forest, the haunt of monkeys, wild hogs, and hyaenas. The citadel, originally constructed by Xeixas and Cabrera in 1635, still remains in good condition, "a picturesque yellow pile with long buttressed curtains," but has preserved little of its Portuguese architecture. Of the twenty; Portuguese churches which Mombasa once contained, only two or three can be identified. A few of the houses are built of stone, but most of them are mere thatched huts. The population in 1844 was, according to Dr Krapf, from 8000 to 10,000, mostly Wasawahili, but with a considerable number of Arabs and some thirty or forty Banyans. In 1857 Burton estimated the inhabitants at 8000 to 9000, and in 1883 they numbered about 20,000. The Arabs, the Wamwita, and the Wakilindini (the two divisions of the Wasawahili residents, of which the former is the original stock) have each their own chief. In 1875-76 the Church Missionary Society, which made Mombasa one of its stations in 1844, established a settlement for liberated slaves at Freretown (Kisauni) on the mainland, opposite Mombasa. By 1881 it consisted of about 450 persons, of whom about one-fourth were children attending school. The pupils are taught to read both English and Sawahili (Ch. Hiss. Intelligencer, 1875-76 and 1881). A branch station at Rabbai numbers 600 inhabitants.
Mombasa takes its name from Mombasa in Oman. It is mentioned by Ibn Batnta in 1331 as a large place, and at the time of Vasco da Gama's visit it was the residence of Calicut Banyans and Christians of St Thomas, and the seat of considerable commerce. The " king" of the city, however, tried to entrap Da Gallia, and with this began a series of troubles which give full force to the native name Mesita (war). The principal incidents are the capture and burning of the place by Almeyda (1505), Nuno da Cunha (1529), and Duarte de Menezes (1587) - this last as a revenge for its submission to the sultan of Constantinople - the building of the Portuguese fort (1594), the revolt of Yusuf ibn Ahmed (1631), the erection of the Portuguese citadel (1635), the five years' siege by the imam of Oman (1660-65), and the final expulsion of the Portuguese (1698). In 1823 the Mazara family, who had ruled in Mombasa from the early part of the 18th century, placed the city under British protection ; but Britain soon withdrew, and left the place to be bombarded and captured by Sayyid Said of Zanzibar, who was obliged to make repeated attacks between 1829 and 1833, and only got possession in 1834 by treachery. A revolt against Zanzibar in 1875 was put down by British assistance.
See Capt. W. F. W. Owen, Narrative, tze. (1533); Capt. Thomas Boteler, Narrative, &e. (1835); Guillain, Voyage, (Paris, 1856); Erapt Travels, (1860); Burton, Zanzibar, (1872).