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Global Politics in the 1580s: One Canal, Twenty Thousand Cannibals, and an Ottoman Plot to Rule the World

From: Journal of World History
Volume 18, Number 3, September 2007
pp. 267-296 | 10.1353/jwh.2007.0020


Yemen with a small war fl eet and headed for the Portuguese-controlled city-states of Africa's Swahili coast. Although ultimately unsuccessful, his expedition was conceived as only the fi rst 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 fi nal 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.