“The Nizari Khoja had been active as traders between western India and coast Africa at least since the 17th century: the early Indian Nizari immigrants came as well from Kutch, Kathiawar, Surat and Bombay, and settled on Zanzibar Island. By 1820, a small community of Khojas was present in Zanzibar: their affairs were administered by two local functionaries.” (7)
By I.I.Dewji, Editor, Khojawiki.org
Zanzibar gets its name from the Persian zang-bâr meaning “black coast”, probably alluding to its two indigenous African tribes, although archeological evidence suggests that humans have lived on this close-shore island for over 20,000 years. It is also possible that Zanzibar refers to the side of the Indian Ocean which has the legendary “Zenj” Empire versus the other side which is the “Hind”- bar.
Click the link below to read more about Khojas in early Zanzibar history.