Global politics in the 1580s: One canal, twenty thousand cannibals, and an Ottoman plot to rule the world

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Abstract

In the fall of 1588, the little-known Ottoman corsair Mir Ali Beg set sail from the Yemen with a small war fleet and headed for the Portuguese-controlled city-states of Africa's Swahili coast. Although ultimately unsuccessful, his expedition was conceived as only the first step in an extended effort to create a centralized Ottoman imperial infrastructure throughout the Indian Ocean basin. And had it not been for the fortuitous intervention of several thousand "Zimba" warriors on the eve of the final encounter between Ottoman and Portuguese forces at Mombasa in March 1589, the available evidence suggests that Mir Ali and his men might very well have carried the day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-296
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of World History
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

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