slaves from East Africa, who were brought to Iraq and Khuzistan between the seventh and the ninth century by Arabian and Iranian slave traders, primarily from slave markets on the island of Zanzibar (in Arabic, al-Zinj). The Zinji cleared and irrigated salt marshes, tilled the land, extracted saltpeter, and raised sugarcane. They lived in separate camps under difficult conditions. Several contingents of the caliph’s troops were formed from the Zinji.
The brutal exploitation of the Zinji provoked insurrections. The most significant uprising began in A.D. 869 and continued for 14 years. During the revolt, the Zinji created their own state in southern Iraq and western Khuzistan. Its capital was al-Mukhtara. After a lengthy seige, the caliph’s troops took possession of al-Mukhtara in 883 and suppressed the Zinji insurrection.