Mafia Island

Gotta get here.

Chronicles of Africa

Mafia Island is a small island about 20km off the coast of Tanzania. It is part of the Zanzibar archipelago, but occurs further south than the other islands and has remained relatively unharmed by tourism. There is no illicit Italian presence on the island, instead the name is thought to come from the Kiswahili word “maafya” meaning healthy place, or the Arabic word “morifeya” meaning archipelago. The earliest evidence of inhabitants date back to 200AD – the Mbwera tribe – but, considering how close the island is to the coast, an earlier presence seems likely. Mafia Island was along the way of an ancient trade route, the Incense Route, between the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa, so, over time, an Arabic strain emerged on Mafia Island. Spices, cinnamon, ivory and slaves were traded along this route. Today, the majority of residents are Muslim and speak Kiswahili.

The Mafia Island Marine…

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