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Oman and Zanzibar
The Zanzibar - Oman Relationship has been an important one throughout history. A comprehensive representation of that relationship would require much study, and more space than this website can provide. The following images can give us only a small glimpse of that shared history. For more information and further study please see the links below the images.
The Dhows came in many sizes, their lineage is too ancient to determine. It was the larger sea-going Dhows that carried an ancient trade from Oman throughout the Indian Ocean. In Zanzibar, Dhows are said to be "older than the faith."
During the trading season Dhows came to Zanzibar in the hundreds, from Oman, Arabia and and Persia.
Most of the town participated in this import-export business in some way.
Once Zanzibar and Oman were one domain. In 1856 their joint-ruler, the great Sultan Said died. One of his sons then became the Sultan of Oman and another son became Sultan of Zanzibar. The British supported and enforced this division of power.
Dhows have always connected cousins in both lands.
Over the next century and more, the Royal family in both Oman and Zanzibar demonstrated continuity, solidarity, and leadership.
Omani traders and sailors swelled the town’s population during the trading season. The sailors were known for spirited displays and sometimes rowdy behavior.
Over time many of these visitors took up a more permanent life on Zanzibar. They settled on farms and plantations, set up businesses, and started family life.
Both men and women migrated to Zanzibar from Oman.
In 1961 the long reigning and much respected Seyyid Khalifa bin Haroub bin Thuweini bin Said bin Sultan, died. His son, Sultan Abdullah, inherited the throne of Zanzibar at a time of increasing political and social unrest. Amidst the Cold War stress between East and West, the anti-colonial rebellions throughout Africa, and struggles between Nationalism, Tribalism, and Marxism at home, Zanzibar was challenged like never before. Seyyid Abdullah never had time to fully deal with those challenges, he died after only 2 years on the throne. His young son, Jamshid then became Sultan. Seyyid Jamshid presided over the achievement of Independence for Zanzibar from Great Britain. His reign was only months old when the Zanzibar Revolution swept him from power, at the end of 1963. Thus ended royalty on Zanzibar.
Sultan Abdullah bin Khalifa
Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah
Sultan’s tomb marker, Zanzibar.
Today many people in Zanzibar and in Oman are rediscovering their shared heritage. Fortunately, for those interested in this history there are now many new resources for information and further research. Here is a short list of some of the best work that preserves, documents and displays information about the history of Zanzibar and Oman.
10 Recommended Web Sites Sultan Qaboss Cultural Center. Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa. Sailors and Daughters, Early Photography and the Indian Ocean. Oman and Zanzibar Virtual Museum. Zanzibar Stories & History. The Azanian Sea. Trip Down Memory Lane. people-famous-and.html Old Houses and Strong Women (A Video). Old East Africa Postcards. Gallery Tours. (A commercial website.)