Professor Shepperson says of this regional economic history of East Central Africa that it is a "refreshing combination of a scholarly survey of a relatively new field of African history and of a contribution to an important controversy on African underdevelopment." Alpers has written a history of the penetration and changing character of international trade in East Central Africa from the fifteenth to the later nineteenth century. His study focuses on a vast and little known region that includes southern Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and Malawi, with extension north along the Swahili coast and west as far as the Lunda state of the Mwata Kazembe. He examines both the competition between traders and their internal impact on the various societies of East Central Africa. Alpers' main concern is to demonstrate that the historical roots of underdevelopment in the area are to be found 'in the system of international trade which was initiated by Arabs in the fifteenth century, seized and extended by the Portuguese in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, dominated by a complex mixture of Indian, Arab and Western capitalisms in the nineteenth century'. Thus this readable and original book places East African trading systems within the larger Western Indian Ocean system and in the world capitalist system. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1975.