The Angoche Sultanate was established in 1485 along an archipelago off the Northern Mozambique coastline. Centered on the cities of Angoche and Moma, the Sultanate also had a number of vassal territories surrounding them.[1] They were finally removed from power by the Portuguese colonial government in 1910.[2]

Angoche Sultanate
c. 1485–1910
Angoche within the Kilwa Sultanate
Angoche within the Kilwa Sultanate
StatusVassal of the Kilwa Sultanate (1485–1513)
Independent (1513–1910)
• c. 1485–?
Xosa (first)
• 1861–1877
Musa Mohammad Sahib Quanto the fearsome
• 1889–1910
Ibrahimu ibn Sulayman (last)
Historical eraEarly to Late modern period
• Established
c. 1485
• Civil War
• Conquered by Portugal
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kilwa Sultanate
Portuguese Mozambique
Today part ofMozambique

History edit

Founding edit

The settlement of Angoche (the modern day city of Angoche was founded in 1865. Angoche was situated on the nearby Angoche Island) possibly dates back to about the start of the sultanate, as one of three major Swahili settlements (other two being Sangage Sheikhdom and Sancul Sheikhdom). According to one tradition, Angoche, Lupi, Quelimane, and Moçambique, were founded by refugees from the Kilwa Sultanate shortly before the arrival of Vasco De Gama in 1498. Hassani, a leader of the refugees who settled in Quelimane, died during a visit to Mussa in Moçambique, another refugee leader. Hassani died on Mafamale Island and when Mussa came to visit his grave there he thought the area made a for a better locality than Quelimane and so installed Hassani's son Xosa as sultan there.[3] This version made the inhapakho, name for local rulers in Angoche, kin to the east African Swahili and to Mozambican coastal Muslim people. In a second version, the inhapakho are said to come from the Namuli Mountains to the Zambezi valley, the mythical cradle of all the Makwa, and founded by a great woman. In this region, people claim matrilineal clanship, descending from a common female ancestor gave the inhapakho a special claim on the land. The inhapakho strategically manipulated both of these versions of the history of their first-coming status.[4]

By the early 16th century Angoche and other settlements were described by Duarte Barbosa as vassals to the Kilwa Sultanate.[5]

Decline edit

As one of the first settlements in Mozambique, it became a major trading centre, with important gold and ivory markets. The Sultans of Angoche expanded to rule over all the archipelago, with Angoche serving as the major city of their realm. However, for all its early trade, the city became replaced by Quelimane as a major port.[6] The Sultanate was hurt by the settlement of a new group of people on its hinterland, who blocked access to the mainland and imposed tolls on passing caravans. During this period Angoche suffered from an economic decline, with the Sultans losing their political influence.[7] João dos Santos described the settlement as being population by "poor and low class Moors." In 1634 the population numbered about 1,500 inhabitants.[6]

Rise and conquest edit

During the 1830s, the Sultanate quickly supplied a growing demand for ivory, rubber and slaves. The latter became increasingly important throughout the century, as the European anti-slavery movement grew. The independence of the Sultanate from European Empires made it a focus for the slave trade. By 1847, many businesses had relocated to Angoche from cities under Portuguese control such as Mozambique Island, to escape the taxes and slave laws there.[8][6]

The growing demand for slaves was the reason behind Angoche's expansion onto the mainland, where they could control the caravan routes and create their own slave bases. inhapakho Musa Muhammad Sahib (who later became a sultan himself) realised this expansion of the Sultanate under the rule of Sultan Hasani Usufu. With the help of the widespread circulation of firearms, Musa launched a war against the Marrevoni Lomwe group of the Makwa, whom he subsequently defeated and enslaved, bringing more ivory and rubber with his conquest.[9]

Angoche later came into conflict with the Alves da Silva family of the prazo Maganja da Costa. Its founder, António Alves da Silva, came from the province of Beira in Portugal in the early 19th century and established a trade in ivory and slaves, engaging a number of African soldiers or "sipais" from the Sena district. The ports under the da Silva family's control, especially Quizungo, which like Angoche were beyond European control, became one of the major rival ports for Angoche. It was these ports that became the next target of Musa's conquest. Like with the Marrevoni, Musa successfully conquered Maganja da Costa and enslaved some of its population.[10]

In 1861, João Bonifàcio da Silva, one of the two da Silva brothers who owned Maganja da Costa, not only re-conquered his family lands, but also triumphantly entered the Sultan’s seat on Catamoyo Island in the Angoche archipelago. João's campaign had limited military assistance from Portugal who claimed both Angoche and Maganja da Costa as theirs and used the moment to strategically attribute Portuguese identity to Zambezi prazeiros even offering citizenship to the Afro-Portuguese master of the Maganja da Costa. Although the presence of the Portuguese would be mostly useless as the da Silva family's riches and army surpassed significantly those of the Portuguese.[11]

The Alves da Silva family had no interest in occupying Angoche and handed over the territory to Portugal. However, the small garrison of Portuguese stationed on the Angoche mainland was no match for Musa who soon restored the Sultanate. Musa's ultimate goal was for Angoche to have full control over trade so when the Sangage Sheikhdom began to harbour Banyan merchants, Musa attacked Sangage. In 1870, Musa went to war with the Impamella, who did not want to recognize Angoche’s first-comer status. The Impamella gained the support of Portugal but were ultimately defeated in 1876.[12]

Fall edit

In the 1860s, the Portuguese attacked the Sultanate, however their early campaign proved fruitless and they still had no direct control over Angoche.[13] Following the death of Musa in 1877, Angoche descended into a civil war with 7 different claimants competing for power.[2] By 1890, Mahamuieva, also known as Farelay had emerged victorious, and would rule until the end of the sultanate in 1910, when the sultanate was conquered by a well-equipped Portuguese military expedition.[2]

Further reading edit

References edit

  1. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 115.
  2. ^ a b c Henriksen, Thomas H. (1978). Mozambique: a history. Collings. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-86036-017-9.
  3. ^ Newitt 1972, p. 398.
  4. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 121–122.
  5. ^ Bonate, Liazzat (2010). "Islam in Northern Mozambique: A Historical Overview". doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2010.00701.x. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b c Isendahl, Christian. "Angoche: An important link of the Zambezian gold trade" (PDF). Uppsala University: 8–9.
  7. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 123.
  8. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 123–124.
  9. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 124–125.
  10. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 125.
  11. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 125–126.
  12. ^ Bonate 2003, p. 126.
  13. ^ Syed, Muzaffar Husain; Akhtar, Syed Saud; Usmani, B. D. (2011-09-14). Concise History of Islam. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. p. 162. ISBN 978-93-82573-47-0.

Cited works edit

16°14′S 39°55′E / 16.233°S 39.917°E / -16.233; 39.917