It can be hard to believe that this tranquil backwater hosted a sophisticated civilisation as early as the 9th century AD, with a thriving port where Paté Town currently stands, founded by Arabian immigrants. The Portuguese began trading with Paté in the 15th century, and some present-day locals claim Portuguese ancestry from the merchants who settled here in the 16th century. Paté and Lamu were frequently involved in conflict with one another, but Paté's influence diminished after their defeat in the Battle of Shela in 1812.