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Somalia - early flags
Last modified: 2017-11-11 by bruce berry
Keywords: somaliland |
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I have a small reproduction of an old map made by Fernão
Vaz Dourado in 1576. This map reproduces the south-eastern coastal areas
of Africa, from southern Namibia to the easternmost tip of Somalia. It
contains nine reproductions of flags over those “city drawings” so common
in the maps of that time. I have drawn the flags to the best of my eye resolution
(the reproduction is small and some details are not obvious). These are:
Are these flags really the flags used by those places at the time? Or,
rephrasing the question: are these maps reliable in what concerns flag-info
(they are not in what concerns geo-info, that’s for sure!...)
Jorge Candeias, 04 Apr 1998
1576 map image
image by Jorge Candeias,
01 Sep 1999
The above image is from a map made by
Fernão vaz Dourado in 1576. The
flag is placed in southern Somalia, near the place where Mogadishu is today.
A triangular flag, dark red over dark yellow, with a white crescent at
the hoist, vertically centered.
Jorge Candeias, 01 Sep 1999
I don't have any definite information as to the identity of the cities
whose flags were shown on the chart, but The New Atlas of African History
by G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville provides some possibilities. It shows the leading
ports on the Indian Ocean shore of Africa during the 15th and 16th centuries,
the above could be Mogadishu
Edward Smith, 01 Sep 1999
By the time the Portuguese arrived for the first time on the East African
coast there was trade going on between Arabs (or Moors, as the Portuguese called
them) and Indians, mainly from Gujarat. It is quite possible, that several
flags belong to Arabs or Gujaratis.
There are several Portuguese accounts of the East African coast; G.
S. P. Freeman-Grenville selected some in 'The East African Coast', selected
documents from the first to the earlier nineteenth century, 1962. A lot
of places are named in that book. Of special interest is Duarte Barbosa's
account of the East Coast, c. 1517-18. It has no info on flags, just on
places/regions. From South to North (well, about):
Fernão Vaz Dourado, born at Diu in 1520, worked in Goa until 1580;
he was doubtless the 'expert master of navigation in Goa' by whom Linschoten's
Amsterdam publisher, Cornelis Claesz, secured a 'map of Asia' about 1592.
(Skelton, 'Explorers' Maps', 1958, p. 159)
Çofala - Sofala
The great kingdom of Benametapa (Monomotapa)
Zimbaoche (Great Zimbabwe) - on the road from Çofala to the Cape
of Good Hope
Angoya, a very great town of Moors
Moçambique, a Moorish town
Quiloa, an island with a Moorish town
Mombaça, a town on an isle, whose king is a Moor
Melinde, pertaining to the Moors with a Moorish king
The Island of Sam Lourenço (Madagascar), an island with many kings
Pemba, Mamfia and Zanzibar, three islands
Patee and Lemon (Lamu)
Jarig Bakker, 01 Sep 1999
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