Why did the Portuguese conquer the East African coast with a lot of ease

Why did the Portuguese conquer the East African coast with a lot of ease

  • The Portuguese were well informed about the nature of Arabs at the coast e.g. Vasco da Gama had visited the coast and he advocated for the use of force to defeat the Arabs.
  • The Portuguese were militarily superior i.e. they had better ships and guns e.g. the Canon Gun which scared the Africans at the coast.
  • The coastal people had inferior weapons like spears and outdated guns which could not compete with the superior weapons of the Portuguese.
  • The Coastal people were disunited and could not join hands to fight a common enemy e.g. Malindi and Mombasa had strong rivalry.
  • The Portuguese had well trained soldiers who were experienced in warfare they also carried muskets and armored clothes.
  • The Portuguese were skilled in naval warfare i.e. they could fight on water while the coastal people were used to fighting on land.
  • The Portuguese soldiers were financially supported by their home government and the rich Portuguese merchant and therefore they had enough food, ships and weapons.
  • The Portuguese always used surprise attacks to defeat the coastal societies for example at night and on market days.
  • The Portuguese were very ruthless and brutal and they looted and burnt coastal towns to ashes e.g. Kilwa and Mombasa and this scared other towns.
  • The Portuguese used the divide and rule policy to ensure that the coastal people would lose e.g. the Portuguese allied which Malindi to fight against Mombasa.
  • The Coastal states had weak economies which could not sustain the fight against the Portuguese who were economically stronger.
  • Some coastal states were already weakened by slave trade which reduced their population.
  • Some coastal settlements were already weakened by the Segeju and Zimba man eaters
  • Portugal did not have any rival European power at the coast to engage them in war hence easing their conquest.
  • Africans were further weakened by famine and diseases and therefore could not put up any resistance against the Portuguese.
  • The Portuguese were so determined and united to achieve their goal of conquering the coast.