Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   THE BALUCH IN EAST AFRICA. (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23258)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 13th October 2017 12:07 PM

THE BALUCH IN EAST AFRICA.
 
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Saiid the Great ruled Oman and Zanzibar from 1804 to 1856. Much of the fighting and pioneering was conducted by Baluch mercenaries working directly for the Sultan. They helped write the history of East Africa.

The East African Baloch from https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/the-...-baloch.488110/

Quote"In 1821, the Sultan and Imam of Oman, Seyyid Said bin Sultan Al Busaidi, hired an Iranian fleet to invade the islands and ports of East Africa. The Iranian fleet leased by the Sultan of Oman consisted mostly of Baluchi and Sindhi/Cutchi mercenaries, with a few Arab, Persian, and Pathan officers from India. Almost all of these, after their families had arrived from Iran and India, settled in the coastal towns in or around the forts and the newly built camps (e.g., Saa-teeni north of Zanzibar City and Fort Jesus in Mombasa – the largest fortification in East Africa), with the Baluchi cavalry settling in Zanzibar City at the site of the present Haile Selassie School.

With the expansion of Zanzibari trade and political influence in the interior of Tanganyika, Baluchi squadrons were dispatched to Tabora in central Tanganyika and Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. In 1873, about half of the 3,000 Zanzibari troops engaged in the war in Unyanyembe in the interior of Tanganyika against the Nyamwezi ruler Chief Mirambo were mercenary Wabulushi from Iran and Washihiri from Hadramawt in South Yemen. A number of Baluchi soldiers joined trade caravans as guards and reached the Congo with the legendary Zanzibari trader Tippu Tip (Hamed bin Muhammad al-Murjebi, who had under his command 1,600 armed men – both freemen and slaves – in his caravans and depots). Tippu Tip became the first and only Zanzibari governor of the copper province of Katanga (the present Shaba Province) in Eastern Congo; he later became the first Belgian governor of Katanga for a short time when Belgium occupied the Congo after the European scramble for Africa was concluded in 1890. Many Baluchis thus served in the Belgian Congo army for some years before returning to Tanganyika, Zanzibar, and Kenya just before World War I. During 1891–1919, some Baluchi soldiers also served in the German colonial army in Tanganyika; some of them later joined the British forces in Tanganyika after World War I.

Earlier, the Baluchis in East Africa were known also as Mabulushi (singular: Bulushi), and almost all of them spoke Swahili as their native language. Today, some of them speak a mixture of Baluchi and Swahili because of the influx of new Baluchi immigrants. The early Baluchi settlers frequently intermarried with other Muslims of East Africa, who were themselves of diverse ethnic origin, and adopted Swahili as their native language, though often Baluchi households received ‘‘fresh blood’’ as new immigrants from their old country, Iranian Baluchistan, arrived to join their relatives and friends.

East Africans of Baluchi origin are Sunni Hanafi. There are no special Baluchi mosques or jamati/jamaatkhana (community centers), but the Baluchis usually gather at a particular Sunni mosque and socialize and intermarry freely with other Sunni Muslims. (The few Shia Iranians in East Africa socialize more with the South Asian Khoja Shia Ithna Asheria, whose mosques and community centers they use.) For many Wabulushi in East Africa, the ‘‘Baluchi’’ identity is self-perceived, just as it is for most of the ‘‘Arabs’’ of East Africa; one is a Baluchi because of one’s patrilineal descent, even if one does not speak the Baluchi language.

The Baluch from the coastal region of Makran were pushed from the extreme misery of their country towards Persia and towards the coasts of Arabia. Here, they offered themselves to the Omani sultans as soldiers, sailors and bodyguards for pay that, though even modest, could represent the difference between life and death for them and for their families.

At that time, the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba were administered by governors representing Sa’id bin Sultan Al Bu Sa’id (r.1806-1856) and exercised all power on his behalf. The military support furnished by these representatives with extensive authority over the islands and their affairs, consisted of special troops of proven trustworthiness, that is to say, Baluch corps “closely tied” to the Al Bu Sa’id by fundamentally economic agreements. The loyalty these Baluch soldiers had for the Omani ruling family at a time when there was much anarchy amongst the groups of Oman, earned them lasting trust with the Sultan who deployed them to guard all his palaces and interests in the region.

The first settlers on the East African coast were the Baluch soldiers, who until the establishment of the Sultanate in the 1840s, maintained army posts in the major centres of Mombasa, Zanzibar and Pemba. These men intermarried with the local Waswahili and were quickly assimilated into their culture and society. They were later followed by whole families who left Baluchistan in the hope of finding better life along the Swahili coast, which arose at the time as an important manufacturing centre and only later became the hub of international maritime trade with Asia. Most of the Baluch came from Kasarkand, although their brothers later followed them in from Sarbaz, Lur and Muscat. Although the life and times of Baluch on the Swahili coast during the 1800s is quite obscure, it seems however that Mombasa was the major Baluch settlement at the time. It is believed that the first non-African to go into Maasailand was a Baluch, so too was the first non-African to be welcomed into the royal court of the Kabaka of Buganda. As they moved inland, the Baluch founded cluster communities in Djugu and Bunia in the Congo; Soroti, Arua and Kampala in Uganda; and Iringa, Tabora, Mbeya and Rujewa in Tanzania; probably there was a Baluch family in almost every main Swahili town.

The Baluch settled in Mombasa and developed a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, preferring to engage in small real estate ventures and trade, or keeping employment with the Omanis and later, the British. Those who lived in the fertile hills of Uganda and Tanzania flourished in the farming and trading industries. The mercantile skills and business acumen of the Baluch earned them high regard among the various communities in which they settled."Unquote.

Shown below group of Omani Baluch wearing their adopted Omani style clothes.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 13th October 2017 12:18 PM

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A rare photograph believed to be the contingent of first non-Africans to be welcomed into the royal court of the Kabaka of Buganda in the Great African Lakes region.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th October 2017 09:30 AM

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/...844.2013.831726 says Quote"Baluchi diasporic presence in the Gulf region is well documented, but little is known about Baluchi settlements in East Africa. The Baluchis—in Swahili called Wabulushi (singular: Mbulushi)—who settled in Kenya and Tanzania in the 1820s are heterogeneous Baluchi-cum-Swahili-speaking Sunni Muslim communities originating in Iran. They came to Zanzibar as mercenaries with the Omani forces, and after 1890, they joined the German and British colonial forces in East Africa."Unquote.

What can be seen of their weapons suggests that they adopted some Omani Swords such as Shamshiir and Indian variants of the various Tulvar marks as well as the various daggers available ...and Indian gunpowder weaponry. They did have a cavalry outfit and I am looking for weapons in that sphere..

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th October 2017 11:19 AM

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Evidence of Baluch Cavalry in East Africa is very difficult to find..They were instrumental in taking Fort Jesus from the Portuguese although details are scant. However I imagine it would look something like this ~

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th October 2017 11:36 AM

By way of a precis and update see http://www.atheer.om/en/7162/brief-...nd-baluchistan/

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th October 2017 02:27 PM

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Baluchi Shield. This has a remarkable resemblance to Caucasus shield form and perhaps that is related to the major Baluch weapon makers; .. The Sarmastani. Their name implies a connection with the historical Sarmatians tribes of the Caucasus. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th October 2017 12:04 AM

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In finding an example of Baluch warriors with firearms I chose this...

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th October 2017 01:58 AM

An interesting anecdotal record can be seen at https://baluchsarmachar.wordpress.c...of-east-africa/

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th October 2017 08:50 AM

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There is an incredible journey in 1891 across Persia and Baluchistan which I can recommend for a background into the country from which these Mercenaries originated.. I cannot imagine a rougher more dangerous land. Please see http://www.travelbooksonline.com/as...page1_1000.html and in it a description of the weapons usually carried ...Weapons of the Baluch tribal militia or guards in the fiefdoms were usually of the flintlock variety shown and of Indian form in respect of Tulvar swords and other regionally related daggers...in what is often described as "Armed to the Teeth" scenarios.

Below please meet below Khuda Dad Khan of Kalat arguably the most murderous butcher that ever stalked the earth...and who is part of the story in the great journey above ..from about page 50 onwards to about page 60.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 17th October 2017 02:12 PM

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Another picture of Baluch warriors...Logically taking to the field of battle with some of the regions Indo Persian selection of weapons... and some locally produced Baluch styles..and as seen at #7 above.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 17th October 2017 02:52 PM

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Before I forget ... Baluchistan...The Map.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th October 2017 04:45 PM

Returning to the Western Indian Ocean the focus is again on BALUCH mercenaries where I Quote

"Mercenary Groups and Power Politics in
the Western Indian Ocean

Another important item destined to change deeply the hinterland power
balances was represented by firearms: during the first half of the XIXth
Century matchlocks began to appear in the hands of Omani mercenary
troops, who, imported them from the Ottoman Empire and from Europe.
The Shirazi, the Swahili important families, gradually ‘lost’ their power
and were pulled apart by the Al Bu Sahid within the growing trade of
Zanzibar, although they retained control of the northern caravan trade
but the great wealth soon passed into ‘Arabs’ and ‘Indian’ hands. As
the central route was the most controlled by Arabs, Tabora, near the
heart of Unyamwezi, as we have seen above, became an ‘Arab’ town
together with Ujiji. Here Baluch soldiers settled, intermarried, and soon
became influencing figures. The impact of the Al Bu Sahid political power
and of the Baluch military power in Zanzibar on the African hinterland
was therefore destined to influencing the lives of East African men and
women; considerable modifications underwent in traditional elite patterns
of power relationships where client-patronage perspectives never were to
be the same, and where new actors were destined to emerging on the
new western Indian Ocean scenario in its connections with the East
African hinterland. In this regard, the ivory trade became a means of
travel, adventure and wealth offering a way to modifying the status within
the coastal communities. Everybody could share this ambition, but at
the same time new tensions were introduced between Swahili rich families,
struggling to preserve their precarious domination, and the demand
of the ‘parvenus’ on whose support they relied."Unquote.

motan 19th October 2017 10:40 AM

Hi Ibrahiim,

Thank for the good information and pictures, but especially for the travel book from 1891. Great read. Those were the days... though when you think of it, non-Western and especially Near Eastern people did not get a very positive rep in this kind of literature.
Eytan

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 19th October 2017 01:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
Hi Ibrahiim,

Thank for the good information and pictures, but especially for the travel book from 1891. Great read. Those were the days... though when you think of it, non-Western and especially Near Eastern people did not get a very positive rep in this kind of literature.
Eytan



I could hardly put the book down... One of the best travel writers I have seen... Agreed, the poor old people got a poor old report as in those days peasants had a very rough time. It is against this background that the Baluch Mercenaries emerged, thus, it can be seen that they not only supported themselves but often the entire family back home.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 21st October 2017 06:32 PM

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Another atmospheric group picture of Baluchi fighters. :shrug:

BANDOOK 25th October 2017 10:31 AM

Hi Saalams
don't want to sound Controversial,but Baluchistan belongs to Baluchis,and forcefully occupied by Pakistan Army in 1948 ,during India Pakistan Seperation.High time it gets Independence in near Future and India supports Baluchis.
Regards
Rajesh

Kubur 25th October 2017 12:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BANDOOK
Hi Saalams
don't want to sound Controversial,but Baluchistan belongs to Baluchis,and forcefully occupied by Pakistan Army in 1948 ,during India Pakistan Seperation.High time it gets Independence in near Future and India supports Baluchis.
Regards
Rajesh


YES India will do anything that can annoy Pakistan.
Balutchistan is in between Iran and Pakistan but thanks to British colonial rule, it's now a complete mess...
And i don't speak about the Kurds in between 4 countries: Iran, Irak, Syria and Turkey...
:(
And in fact half of the weapons here are normally atributed to Sindh - Sindhi...

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 25th October 2017 08:20 PM

PLEASE ....NO POLITICS ON THIS SHOW.

Jim McDougall 25th October 2017 08:37 PM

I very much agree NO POLITICS pullleeeeeezzz!!!! :)
This is about history, and Ibrahiim thank you for all this absolutely fascinating information on the Baluchi's, whose name and seemingly constant occurrence in the history of these areas is always intriguing.

I recall years ago being heavily involved in the study of the British Raj, and many of the native cavalry units, with those situated in Baluchistan always keying that name.

motan 29th October 2017 11:59 AM

I also agree. Politics could potentially ruin this forum. I really enjoy the lack of it here, which allows me to connect with people who are potentially my adversaries and have a civilized discussions based on mutual respect.
However, politics and historical facts are intermingeled by nature. Even archeological findings are mostly viewed through biased eyes. My country is perhaps the best example of that, with very real actions directly based on interpretations of history. But even without entering the truely dangerous waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just think about "Biblical Archeology" and you realize that we do not observe the past without prejudice...
Ibrahim, I love this thread and your other general historical threads. By the way, is Al Balooshi by any chance related the Baluch??

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 30th October 2017 09:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by motan
I also agree. Politics could potentially ruin this forum. I really enjoy the lack of it here, which allows me to connect with people who are potentially my adversaries and have a civilized discussions based on mutual respect.
However, politics and historical facts are intermingeled by nature. Even archeological findings are mostly viewed through biased eyes. My country is perhaps the best example of that, with very real actions directly based on interpretations of history. But even without entering the truely dangerous waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just think about "Biblical Archeology" and you realize that we do not observe the past without prejudice...
Ibrahim, I love this thread and your other general historical threads. By the way, is Al Balooshi by any chance related the Baluch??


Yes it is the name given to what is now an Omani tribe thus the Al in front...The same happened to a number of otherwise not integrated tribes after the ruler decreed when he took power after 1970... The Al Baluch form a large contingent on the Baatinah coast of Oman and hark back to the days when most of the Mercenaries on the Zanj were Baluch.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 30th October 2017 11:21 AM

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Here is a Baluchi Dagger...From Omani Silver. com and extremely rare.


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