Azania (Ancient Greek: Ἀζανία) is a name that has been applied to various parts of southeastern tropical Africa. In the Roman period and perhaps earlier, the toponym referred to a portion of the Southeast Africa coast extending from Kenya, to perhaps as far south as Tanzania. This area was inhabited by Southern Cushitic-speaking populations until the wave of Bantu expansion.
Pliny the Elder mentions an "Azanian Sea" (N.H. 6.34) that began around the emporium of Adulis and stretched around the south coast of Africa. Later Western writers who mention Azania include Claudius Ptolemy (c. 100 – c. 170 CE) and Cosmas Indicopleustes (6th century CE).
The 1st century AD Greek travelogue the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea first describes Azania based on its author's intimate knowledge of the area. Chapter 15 of the Periplus suggests that Azania could be the littoral area south of present-day Somalia (the "Lesser and Greater Bluffs", the "Lesser and Greater Strands", and the "Seven Courses"). Chapter 16 clearly describes the emporium of Rhapta, located south of the Puralean Islands at the end of the Seven Courses of Azania, as the "southernmost market of Azania". Subsequently, by the 10th century AD, these original "Azanians" had been replaced by early waves of Bantu settlers.
John E.Hill's translation of Chinese 3rd century Weilue identified a country named Zésàn (Chinese: 澤散; Middle Chinese: /ɖˠæk̚.sɑnX/}}) with Azania. But later text like New Book of Tang stated "Zesan" locating to the northeast of Roman Empire, so that is unlikely.
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- Original text: 臣役小國數十，以名通者曰澤散，曰驢分。澤散直東北，不得其道裏. New Book of Tang, vol. 221下
- Casson, Lionel (1989). The Periplus Maris Erythraei. Lionel Casson. (Translation by H. Frisk, 1927, with updates and improvements and detailed notes). Princeton, Princeton University Press.
- Chami, F. A. (1999). "The Early Iron Age on Mafia island and its relationship with the mainland." Azania Vol. XXXIV 1999, pp. 1–10.
- Chami, Felix A. 2002. "The Egypto-Graeco-Romans and Paanchea/Azania: sailing in the Erythraean Sea." From: Red Sea Trade and Travel. The British Museum. Sunday 6 October 2002. Organised by The Society for Arabian Studies.[www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/ane/fullpapers.doc][dead link]
- Collins, Alan S.; Pisarevsky, Sergei A. (2005). "Amalgamating eastern Gondwana: The evolution of the Circum-Indian Orogens". Earth-Science Reviews. 71: 229–270. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2005.02.004.
- Huntingford, G.W.B. (trans. & ed.). Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. Hakluyt Society. London, 1980.
- Yu Huan, The Weilue in The Peoples of the West, translation by John E. Hill 
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- Azania, Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa[permanent dead link]