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The Shell Collector Historical Context

Anthony Doerr
This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Shell Collector.
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The History of Lamu, Kenya

The Swahili town of Lamu on Lamu Island, just off the northeastern coast of Kenya, is the oldest East African settlement. According to some sources, Arabs arrived on the island as early as the eleventh century, bringing their culture, language, and religion, Islam. During the 1500s, after the Portuguese arrived, the island town became a busy port from which timber, various spices, ivory, and slaves were exported to Europe and the Far East. By the eighteenth century, the export of slaves was the dominant source of income. When slavery was abolished in the nineteenth century, the Lamu economy suffered. By the middle of that century, the area became a subject of the sultanate of Zanzibar, which controlled the coastal areas until Kenya attained independence from Britain in 1963. In the late twentieth century, Lamu remained virtually a nineteenth-century place, without most modern technologies. There...

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This section contains 525 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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