The small town of Lamu on the northern coast of Kenya in East Africa was one of those independent city-states that was established in the fourteenth-century by sea-faring Arab merchants who traded along the coasts of the Indian Ocean and beyond, as far as China. The existing urban conglomeration dates back to the eighteenth-century, when the city flourished under the protection of the Omani sultanate, after the decline of Portuguese rule in East Africa. Lamu is located on one of the main islands of the Lamu Archipelago, across the Island of Manda.
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Lamu Town