Swahili is an official language of Tanzania and Kenya, and it's used as a lingua franca throughout many parts of East Africa. Swahili is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo family. Only about two-thirds of the Swahili lexicon is made up of Bantu words; the rest is comprised of words borrowed from other languages, like Arabic, Persian, English, German, Portuguese, and Malagasy.
The earliest recorded Swahili, from 1711, was written in the Arabic script, but the Latin alphabet began to be used during European colonization of Africa in the nineteenth century. In the 1930s, British colonial authorities, together with African scholars, standardized spoken and written Swahili. Here's an interesting fact: The letters Q and X are not in the Swahili alphabet, and C is used only in combination with H.
Swahili is a coastal language.
The word Swahili is derived from an Arabic word referring to the coastline. In pre-colonial East Africa, the Swahili peoples lived along the coast and on the islands, participating in robust trade with Arabs, Persians, and others that lived around the Indian Ocean. Only in the early nineteenth century did Swahili influence spread inland.