Zanzibar is a group of
islands off the coast of Tanzania consisting of two major islands Unguja (normally
called Zanzibar) and Pemba and a number of smaller islands. Zanzibar is
located in The Indian Ocean less than 40 kilometers from mainland Tanzania
and about six degrees south of the equator. The main island is normally
called Zanzibar but it’s local name is actually Unguja. To avoid
confusion we will here call it Zanzibar and the group of island Zanzibar
archipelago. Zanzibar is about 100 kilometers from south to north and 30
kilometers east to west. The islands main characteristics are corall white
sandy beaches, colorful coral reefes, turquoise water and the midevil
capital Stone Town, or Zanzibar Town.
The name Zanzibar is
believed to come from the Persian words Zangi bar, meaning coast of the
black people. It is also possible that the name derives from the spice
ginger, also known as Zingiber. Zanzibar Archipelago have since long been
called the spice islands, a name they share with Maluku Islands in
permanent residents are believed to be the forefathers to the tribes
Hadimu and Tumbatu, arriving from mainland East Africa around year 1000
AD. They where a plethora of different tribes on the mainland and lived on
Zanzibar in scattered villages with any political cohesion. There lack of
organisation made them easy to defeat for later invaders.
craftsmanship, in particular pottery, indicates travel routes passing by
Zanzibar as early as the Assyrians. Traders from Arabia, Persia and India
most likely traveled to Zanzibar as early as the first centuries AD. They
sailed across the Indian Ocean on the monsoon to the sheltered natural
harbor where Stone Town is today. The islands where not a major interest
to the traders but provided a good base for trade with cities on the
1499 Portuguese discoverer Vasco Da Gama visited Zanzibar and this was the
starting point for European influence on the area. The Portuguese took
control of the island already 1503. In 1505 it became a part of the
Portuguese empire when Captain Joao Homere claimed the island on behalf of
the King of Portugal. Zanzibar remained in Portuguese control until 1698.
1698 Zanzibar instead became a part of the Oman Empire. The Portuguese
where thrown out and the trade with slaves and spices where flourishing
under the sultan.
1840 the Sultan Sayyid bin Sultan al-Busaid moved his capital from Muscat
in Oman to Stone Town. After his death in 1856 his sons struggled for
power over the empire and this resulted in the separation between Oman and
Zanzibar. Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid (1834–1870), the sixth son of
Sultan Sayyid bin Sultan al-Busaid, became Sultan of Zanzibar and the
third son Sayyid Thuwaini bin Said al-Said became the Sultan of Oman.
this period Zanzibar controlled a large part of the East African coastline,
called Zanj, including cities like Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam and trade
routes as far into the mainland as the Congo river. Zanj was later defined
by the colonial powers Britain and Germany as the area between Cape
Delgado (Mocambique) and Kipini (Kenya) and number of cities in present
Somalia, all the island off this coastline and 18,5 kilometers in to the
mainland. All these mainland pocession where however lost to Italy,
Britain and Germany during the period 1887 to 1892 all though they where
not all formerly handed over until the 20:th century, for instance
Mogadishu to Italy in 1905.
The British Empire gradually took control of Zanzibar and in the so-called Helgoland treaty in which Germany pledged not to interfere with British interests in insular Zanzibar. Zanzibar became a protectorate of the United Kingdom that year. The British appointed first Viziers from 1890 to 1913, and then British Residents from 1913 to 1963.
The death of Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896, saw the usurper Seyyid Khalid bin Bargash son of Sultan Bargash bin Said take over the palace and declare himself the new ruler. This was contrary to the wishes of the British Government since the rightful ruler should have been Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed. This led to a showdown on the morning of 27 August when ships of the Royal Navy destroyed the Beit al Hukum palace having given Khalid an ultimatum to leave. He refused and at 9 am the ships opened fire and despite a substantial return fire from Khalid's rebel troops a cease fire was declared 45 minutes later after Khalid had fled to the German Consulate. The bombardment subsequently became known as The Shortest War in History. Sultan Hamoud was declared the new ruler and peace was restored once more. Acquiescing to British demands, Hamoud brought an end to Zanzibar's role as a centre for the eastern slave trade that had begun under Omani rule in 17th Century by banning slavery and freeing the slaves of Zanzibar with compensation in 1897.
On December 10, 1963, Zanzibar received its independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy under the Sultan. This state of affairs was short-lived, as the Sultan was overthrown on January 12, 1964, and on April 26 of that year Zanzibar merged with the mainland state of Tanganyika to form Tanzania, a part of which it remains to this day.
List of Sultans of Zanzibar:
Majid bin Said
Sir Lloyd William
Matthews, (1890 to 1901)
Francis Pearce, (1913 to
Short rains can occur in November but are characterised by short showers which do not last long. The long rains normally occur in April and May although this is often referred to as the 'Green Season', and it typically doesn't rain every day during that time.
Zanzibar's most famous event is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries. Every July, this event showcases the best of the Swahili Coast arts scene, including Zanzibar's favourite music, Taarab.
The Island of Zanzibar comprises three administrative regions: Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North and Zanzibar Urban/West. On the Island of Pemba are the two regions Pemba North and Pemba South.
Zanzibar.NET is dedicated to sensitive tourism that benefits both visitors and the community, without losing the romance and magic that is Zanzibar.
Zanzibar's main industries are spices (which include cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper), raffia, and tourism. Zanzibar is also the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus and the elusive Zanzibar Leopard. The word "Zanzibar" probably derives from the Persian زنگبار, Zangi-bar ("coast of the blacks") and it is known as Zanji-bar in Arabic, also. "Zanzibar" may also refer to the spice ginger (genus Zingiber). "Zanzibar" often refers especially to Unguja Island, and is sometimes referred to as the "Spice Islands," a term that is also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Pemba Island is the only island apart from Zanzibar that still produces cloves on a major basis which is the primary source of spice income for the islands.
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