1There are no words I can offer on these pages that will wholly convey the depth of gratitude I feel toward all of the individuals and institutions that have in one way or another supported this book. This book represents nothing less than a collective effort.

2In a world where money can pave the path for opportunities, I thank foremost all of the institutions and foundations that funded my work on early African history. Without their commitments to projects like mine the silences that more often than not stand in for pre-colonial African history would go unquestioned. This project began in 1996, thanks to the International Studies and Overseas Programs, UCLA history department, James S. Coleman Center, and UCLA graduate division. Each of these offices in some way supported my graduate research in Tanzania. The Ford Foundation supported my writing of the thesis with a dissertation fellowship. In moving this project forward, I am thankful to my home institution, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). UTSA welcomed me to their campus in 2004, and they have been generous with both funding and time to finish my project. I would like to acknowledge UTSA for the Faculty Development Leave and Faculty Research Awards I have received. Outside of UTSA, I am indebted to the generous support of the American Historical Association, Gutenberg-e, and EPIC (Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia). Finally, I am grateful to the Ford Foundation for the support of a postdoctoral fellowship.

3Of course, none of this work could have been completed without the generous support of people all over central-east Tanzania who generously gave of their time and comforting humor when I intruded on their lives unannounced and without much to give in return. They treated me like family even when I asked questions they sometimes found curious, if not downright silly. I thank them for requiring me to see what they know to be important about their history. After all, this book is about their history. I am genuinely appreciative that they trusted me with their knowledge. And I apologize in advance for any representations I have made with which they would not agree.

4In Tanzania, I have to give special thanks to my families away from home, the Ramadhani family, Baba and Mama Rama (my Swahili teacher), Rama, Asha, and Daudi. Every time I made my way to Dar es Salaam for a respite, you made sure I felt like I had just returned home. To my Morogoro family, the Panjwanis, especially Hasnain, you were so good to me. The food, the tea, the transportation, the postal service, the internet, the laughter, and more will always be remembered. In Dar es Salaam, I must thank the women of TYCS and the YWCA, who always welcomed me back and always made sure that I was safe and healthy. Also in Dar es Salaam, I am thankful to the staff at COSTECH, who made sure that research clearance was granted in time to get things done. To the staff at the Tanzania National Archive, who went beyond the call of duty to make sure that copies of material came to fruition even when technology failed, I am appreciative.

5Back at home, I would be nowhere close to where I stand without two key mentors, whom I am now honored to call dear friends. This book is dedicated to Chris and Chris. My goodness, talk about angels on earth. Chris Ahmed-Saidi, you are amazing. Without you, I would have likely walked out of my first African civilizations history class with merely a general requirement fulfilled. Instead, I became a woman determined to know more about Africa than what world history textbooks touted as African history. You are one gifted teacher. Chris Ehret, what can I say? You are the embodiment of selflessness, a stellar scholar, and a gem of a mentor. I can only hope that I will one day pass along to my students all that you have shared with me. You give of your time and effort in ways that are unheard of. Thank you for sharing your eyes with me. Because of you, I am emboldened to think big and to take chances. Finally, thank you for believing in me in those moments that I did not have the strength or sense to believe in myself.

6A heartfelt thank you is in order for a group of scholars, friends, and colleagues who over the years have shared of their knowledge, wisdom, and more with me. Each of you has inspired me in ways that directly and indirectly paved the path for the completion of this book. I thank Edward Alpers, Andrew Apter, Antonio Calabria, Norma Cantu, Brian Davies, Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Sondra Hale, Thomas Hinnebusch, Catherine Nolan-Ferrell, Anne Hardgrove, Patrick Kelly, Mel Laracey, Teresita Martinez-Vergne, Keta Miranda, Gregg Michel, Josie Mendez-Negrete, Wing Chung Ng, Ben Olguin, Melvin Oliver, Merrick Posnansky, Jack Reynolds, Sonia Saldivar-Hull, Jim Schneider, David L. Schoenbrun, and William Worger.

7John Carr-Shanahan is a UTSA history graduate student, my research assistant of nearly two years, and the diligent crafter of the book's maps, illustrations, and more. John, I am thankful for your initiative, self-determination, and endless support.

8A sincere thanks is in order for archaeologist Felix Chami and the British Institute in Eastern Africa for granting permission to use Chami's published illustrations in this work.

9And where would any of us be without our closest friends and family? These are people who have inspired me to continue when I felt like my stamina was dwindling. Gaye Johnson, you are a kindred spirit. Thank you for sharing your serenity, your integrity, and your home. Gabriela Gonzalez, thank you for walking into my life. I do not know what I would do without the energy you share and your gift of words. Kirsten Gardner, you are the essence of honor, poise, and fun. Thank you for grounding me whenever my feet try to leave the earth. Kolleen Guy, thank you for sharing your poetry and power. Paula Davies, thank you for making me aware that there are other important paths to follow. Rodolfo Rosales, thank you for making each day brighter. Marian Aitches, thank you for being a heroine. Kairn Klieman, thank you for your willingness to impart your wisdom whenever I needed it. Stephanie Cameron, thank you for your uplifting and positive words. Deborah Thomas, thank you for sharing laughter with me. Mary Dillard, thank you for your enduring friendship and fabulous sense of humor. Lloys Frates, thank you for sharing your spirit of adventure and justice. Alejandra Villarreal, thank you for this new friendship. You are a treasure. Raechelle Rainey, thank you for your genuineness and your warmth. Laura Pliego, your friendship is a privilege. Thank you for teaching me how to have fun. Virginia Fugon, thank you for taking care of my boy. My absences were made easier knowing I could count on you. Colette Boston, thank you for taking my silences in stride and for always welcoming me back. Mom, thanks for always trusting that I was making good choices. But most importantly, thanks for only asking me once if I was almost done with the book. Curtis Terrell, thank you for your ceaseless loving support, patience, and generosity. And thank you for being an amazing father to our son. Alonzo, thank you for continually reminding me that you are my most important job and for all the laughter. It is a joy to be your mother.