History of Zanzibar
History of Zanzibar: As a Swahili-speaking island in the Indian Ocean around 22 miles (35 km) off of east-central Africa, Zanzibar is known as Unguja in Swahili. Tanzania was formed in 1964 when Zanzibar, Pemba Island, and a few other smaller islands joined Tanganyika on the mainland. It spans over a radius of 2,462 square kilometers and has an estimated population of 1,503,569 people.
Brief History of Zanzibar
When it comes to its history, Zanzibar has been moulded by its location on trade routes in the Indian Ocean, making it accessible to traders and colonists from Arabia, south Asia, and the African continent. The first immigrants to Zanzibar were the Africans, followed by the Persians, who arrived in the 10th century and were quickly assimilated into the native population before disappearing altogether.
Hadimu and Tumbatu are two peoples that emerged through the gradual consolidation of communities and rural inhabitants into what became known as two distinct peoples. This community of African-Persians converted to Islam and adopted many Persian customs. In honour of the ancient Persian principality of Shrz, from whence the first Persians sprung, the majority of Zanzibar’s African population calls themselves “Shirazi.”
As a result of Zanzibar’s strategic location and proximity to Africa, Arab slave voyages and ocean-going commerce had the greatest impact on the island. In Zanzibar, Arabs from Oman were particularly influential, since they established merchant and landowner colonies. They became the island’s elite throughout time.
So they came and took over every port on the east African coast including Mombasa, which was at that time both rich and strong. They also captured the islands of Zanzibar and sections of the Arabian coast including Muscat in the Omani capital. As a result of this, the Portuguese left little evidence of their presence as their authority began to wane in the 17th century.
Following their 1650 expulsion of the Portuguese from Muscat, the Omani Arabs eventually acquired nominal authority over several towns, including Zanzibar, in the region. Sad ibn Suln, the Sultan of Oman, chose to move his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar after a long period of dynastic conflicts and wins and defeats on the African coast.
When North and South American plantation slaves were in demand during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the rapid development of the slave trade made Zanzibar a major hub for slave (and ivory) trafficking routes into the interior of Africa. Even Zanzibar itself had a large supply of coconuts, cloves, and other delicacies to offer visitors. As early as 1832, the Sultan of Oman declared it his capital.
Following Sad’s conquest of huge swathes of Africa, Zanzibar was split from Oman in 1861. Zanzibar’s mainland area, however, was partitioned between Great Britain and Germany during Sultan Barghash’s rule (1870–88). British protectorate over Zanzibar began in 1890 and lasted for more than 70 years.
That period was marked by an allegiance to British rule by most sultanates. Khalid ibn Barghash, who succeeded his uncle Amad Ibn Thuwayn on August 25, 1896, was a remarkable exception. Khalid was given an ultimatum by the British, who wanted to install their own choice as sultan. Khalid refused to resign, and the Anglo-Zanzibar War broke out as a result of his refusal. As the shortest war in recorded history, the combat between Khalid’s followers and the British Royal Navy lasted less than an hour. After Khalid’s loss, Amud Ibn Mohammed, who was sponsored by the British, was enthroned as Sultan.
Following its return to independence in 1963, it joined the Commonwealth of Nations as a member state, a status it has held ever since. As a result of a leftist revolution, the sultanate was overthrown in January 1964, and a republic was founded. The African majority overthrew the island’s long-established Arab ruling elite. During the month of April, Presidents of Zanzibar and Tanganyika signed an act of union, forming what would eventually be known as present day Tanzania.
Zanzibar’s population is made up of a variety of ethnic groups. Around AD 1000, the Bantu Hadimu and Tumbatu ancestors began arriving from the African Great Lakes mainland. On Zanzibar, they belonged to a variety of ethnic groups from the mainland, and they resided in small communities. However, they did not come together to create bigger political groups.
Places to visit in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Island has a lot to offer visitors looking to spend an exciting and relaxed vacation with friends and family on this tropical getaway. Some of the top places to visit in Zanzibar include; Jozani forest, the seaweed centre, House of Wonders, Paje Beach, Spice Island, Prison Island, and the rock restaurant to mention but a few.
If you are planning your visit to Zanzibar, make sure to make your booking through a trusted tour operator company to make the whole process easier.