Habari Ya Lamu, the Story of Lamu
Lamu; Photograph by Daniel Martin Varisco
by Irena Knehtl, Yemen Post, April 15, 2012
One of the city-states founded by Yemeni Hadhrami Arabs was Lamu, an island off the present Kenyan coast, a world heritage site
Throughout its history Yemen has been a seafaring nation, famed for boat building and its mariners navigation skills. While the Yemeni sailors harnessed the monsoon winds to reach distant ports, inland its farmers harnessed water to develop life-sustaining agriculture adopting to a harsh and often formidable environment.
Archaeologists are still investigating these long gone civilizations that have played a major role in transforming global history. These ancient civilizations introduced deep-sea sailing vessels capable of long distance travel and trade. At this time writing, banking, shareholding were established and developed societies were formed for perhaps the first time over.
Linen, cotton, wool and metal were taken to China, where cargoes of silk, camphor, musk, spice were exchanged and Yemen acquired ceramics. Southern Arabia was on cross roads on the trade routes between China and India to the East, and the Red Sea and East Africa to the southwest providing merchants with a huge and lucrative markets. One of the city-states founded by Yemeni Hadhrami Arab travelers was located on the island just off the northern coast of present day Kenya called Lamu.