I WILL POST THIS ITEM INTERNATIONALLY, EXCEPT TO INDIA, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, UKRAINE. Antique 1895 Mwele Kenya campaign trunk mahogany with iron mounts, brass/copper handles. This is a trunk that relates to the first Mwele British East Africa military campaign of 17 August 1895 against Sheik Mbaruk Bin Raschid. It is probably a campaign trunk or was ransacked from Raschid's palace after the battle finished.The trunk is as pictured. Iron mounts surround it and has partial mounts at the corners and at the top and bottom edges.
The hardware appears to be brass inside and out. The interior is lined with red velvet I understand that to people of Muslim faith, red (al-ahmar) symbolizes the life force with Bin Raschid's picture attached. A silver (-like) plaque engraved with MWELE and Raschid's name, dated 17th August 1895, is nailed to the top.The plaque was probably added after the campaign by a Zanzibar silversmith, as that is where the campaign originated from. Note the round carriage bolts on the trunk; they appear to match the bolts holding the door together of Raschid's palace (see photo).
The chair mentioned below was probably involved in the campaign as well. Perhaps one of the officers who took part in the Mwele military campaign used/took both items during the campaign. It has been suggested that the trunk and chair may have been brought back to England after the Mwele campaign.This would be consistent with the chair having surfaced in England. Whoever used or took the trunk and chair was probably a British officer who had a porter carry the item(s). It was made of wood, with an engraved silver plate ascribing it to Sheikh Mbaruk Bin Raschid Mwele and dated August 1895. The general belief is that the Sheikh displeased the British Government of his day so much that Admiral Rawson was sent to East Africa with a naval squadron and an Army punitive expedition under General Sir Lloyd William Mathews. The soldiers, it seems, attacked the Sheikh's stronghold but failed to find him and the assumption is that the chair was brought back in lieu of its owner, although no one seems to know how it came to be at the Swan in Appledore.
Perhaps a former landlord, whose name was Mathews, was related to the general. This trunk would be a nice companion piece to the chair (if found). NOTE: This item is not from British Central Africa/Nyasaland.