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2019 | 50 | 119-140

Article title

Ile funtów na fārsala? Miary i wagi stosowane w handlu zanzibarskim w okresie 1830–1888


Title variants

How Many Pounds per Fārsala? Measures and Weights used in Zanzibar Trade in the Period 1830-1888

Languages of publication



The article concerns the system of measures and weights used in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, mainly in the international port of Zanzibar in the years 1830-1888. The system was used in the trade between local, Arab, Indian and Western merchants. It drew from various traditions. In a relatively short time, after a period of standard negotiation between merchants and state officials, this eclectic system was, to some extent, embedded in the English tradition based on an ounce, pound and yard. While the measures of volume have retained their local character and have not been converted into European units, they have also been globalised through their weight equivalents. The author considers the Zanzibar system of measures and weights in a political and economic context. At the same time, he believes that the key to understanding the process of creating the Zanzibar system of measures and weights is to understand how it was conceptualised by the Western, and also indirectly local recipients.







Physical description


  • Instytut Historyczny, Wydział Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Polska


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