Muscat and Oman

The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman (Arabic: سلطنة مسقط وعمانSalṭanat Masqaṭ wa-‘Umān) was a thalassocratic nation that encompassed the present-day Sultanate of Oman and parts of present-day United Arab Emirates and Gwadar, Pakistan. The country is not to be confused with Trucial states, which were sheikhdoms under British protection since 1820.

Sultanate of Muscat and Oman

سلطنة مسقط وعمان (Arabic)
1820–1970
Flag of Muscat and Oman
The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman around the middle of the 19th century
The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman around the middle of the 19th century
StatusIndependent state, British Protectorate (1892–1971)
CapitalMuscat
Common languagesYemeni Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, English
Religion
Ibadi Islam
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
History 
8 January 1820
1856
1962
• Deposition of Said bin Taimur
23 July 1970
• Disestablished
1970
Area
1965 est.212,000 km2 (82,000 sq mi)
Population
• 1965 est.
550000
CurrencyIndian rupee before 1959, Gulf rupee since 1959
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sultanate of Muscat
Imamate of Oman
Oman
Sultanate of Zanzibar
Today part of Oman
 Tanzania

Expansionist era

Historical differences always existed between the more secular, rich, seafaring coastal Sultanate of Muscat and the tribes of the interior. Though the inland territories were under nominal control of the Sultans of Muscat, they were in practice run by tribal leaders and the conservative Imams of Oman, practitioners of the Ibadi sect of Islam.

Flag of The Imamate of Oman
The flag of the Oman proper Imamate of Oman (1856–1970). This was a white flag with the Omani Khanjar coat-of-arms on the top left corner. The Khanjar is still used today in the flag of the Sultanate of Oman.

The Sultanate of Muscat possessed a powerful naval force, which enabled the creation of a maritime empire dating from the expulsion of the Portuguese in 1650 through the 19th century, at times encompassing modern Oman, the United Arab Emirates, southern Baluchistan, and Zanzibar and the adjacent coasts of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. The Sultanate of Muscat also engaged in a very lucrative slave trade across east Africa. Recently, a claim was made by an Omani minister, suggesting that the Sultanate controlled the distant Mascarene Islands as early as the 15th century.

Consolidation and decline

Muscat harbor
Muscat harbour in 1903.

In the early 1820s, the Sultanate lost most of its territories in the Persian Gulf, which became the Trucial States under British protection. The fifth Sultan of the Al Said dynasty, Said bin Sultan, consolidated the Sultanate's territorial holdings and economic interests and Oman prospered. However, the Omani fleet was unable to compete with the more technically advanced European fleets and the Sultanate lost much of the trade with South Asia. Pressure by the British to abandon the slave trade further led to the loss of political and economic clout of the Sultanate.

On June 4, 1856, Said bin Sultan died without appointing an heir to the throne and members of the Al Said dynasty could not agree on a ruler. Through British mediation, two rulers were appointed from the Al Said clan; the third son of the Sultan, Thuwaini bin Said became ruler of the mainland. His sixth son, Majid bin Said, became ruler of an independent Sultanate of Zanzibar on October 19, 1856.[1] The Sultans of Zanzibar were thereafter obliged to pay an annual tribute to Muscat.[2]

The Sultanate of Muscat was regularly under attack from the devout Ibadi tribes who resented the influence of the more secular coastal people. The Sultanate was however able to defend itself with British help. This historical split continued throughout much of the twentieth century with Sultan Taimur bin Feisal granting limited autonomy to the Imamate of Oman under the Ibadi clergy through the Treaty of Seeb in 1920.

The last overseas possession, the port of Gwadar across the Gulf of Oman, was sold to Pakistan in 1958. However, the sultanate did gain some territory in 1967, when Britain returned the Khuriya Muriya Islands (originally granted as a gift from the sultan to Queen Victoria in 1854).

Insurgency and oil drilling

The discovery of oil in the Persian Gulf exacerbated the dispute between the Sultan in Muscat and the Imams of Oman. Oil exploration had begun in the early 1920s by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.[3] The course of the Second World War severely disrupted such activities.

The last Imam of Oman, Ghalib Bin Ali, started an uprising in 1954 when the Sultan granted licenses to the Iraq Petroleum Company despite the fact that the largest oil fields lay inside the Imamate. The hostilities were put down in 1955, but the longer conflict would evolve into the Jebel Akhdar rebellion, where Sultan Said bin Taimur relied heavily on continued British military support. Iraq Petroleum, along with its operator of oil exploration, Petroleum Development Oman, was owned by European oil giants including Anglo-Iranian Oil's successor British Petroleum which encouraged the British government to extend their support to the Sultan.

The insurgency erupted again in 1957, when Saudi Arabia began supporting the Ibadi rebels, but eventually the Sultan was able to establish pre-eminence over most of the inland. The same year, British forces bombarded the town of Nizwa, the capital of the Imamate, and toppled the Ibadi theocracy. Ghalib Bin Ali went into exile in Saudi Arabia and the last rebel forces were defeated two years later, in 1959. The Treaty of Seeb was terminated and the autonomous Imamate of Oman abolished.[4]

The frequency of uprisings such as the Dhofar Rebellion, supported by the communist government of South Yemen,[5] motivated the British to supplant the Sultan. The British chose the Western-educated son of the Sultan, Qaboos bin Said who was locked up in the palace, because his paranoid father feared a coup. On his release, Qaboos bin Said, with the help of British military forces, staged a successful palace coup and was proclaimed Sultan of Muscat and Oman in 1970. The newly consolidated territories along with Muscat were reorganized into the present-day unified Sultanate of Oman by August 1970.[6]

In 1976, again with British aid, the Sultan secured his hold over the entire interior and suppressed the Dhofar rebellion.

Sohar Sultanate

The Sohar Sultanate lasted from 1920 until about 1932. In 1920, Sheik Ali Banu Bu Ali, a relative of Sultan Taimur bin Faisal, rebelled in the northern town of Sohar and proclaimed himself Sultan but was deposed by the British in 1932.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Ingrams 1967, pp. 163–164
  2. ^ "Background Note: Oman". U.S Department of State – Diplomacy in Action.
  3. ^ "Overview". Omani Ministry of Information. Archived from the original on 2011-10-01.
  4. ^ "Background Note: Oman". U.S Department of State – Diplomacy in Action.
  5. ^ "Background Note: Oman". U.S Department of State – Diplomacy in Action.
  6. ^ "Tribute to His Majesty". Omani Ministry of Information. Archived from the original on 2006-01-18.

References

External links

Azzan bin Qais, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

Imam Azzan bin Qais (Arabic: الإمام عزان بن قيس‎) was the Imam of Oman between 1868 and 1870. He deposed his distant relative Sayyid Salim bin Thuwaini and ruled according to religious law. He also opposed the Saudi interference in the Buraimi Oasis and was eventually killed by Salim's uncle, Sayyid Turki bin Said in 1870.

Bandar Jissah

Bandar Jissah (Arabic: بندر الجصة‎) is a coastal town in northeastern Oman.Bandar Jissah was the centre of a Cause célèbre in Anglo-Omani relations in 1898, which was later called Oman’s Fashoda Incident

The Sultan of the day, the Gujerati speaking Faisal bin Turki, Sultan of Muscat and Oman, wearying of the tiresome British complaints about his trade in slaves, turned to the French, who were more relaxed about such things. He agreed to let them establish a coaling-station at Bandar Jissah. This was too much for the British, one object of whose presence in Muscat had for a long been to frustrate French designs in the region. The Sultan was forced to rescind his agreement with the French on pain of having his Muscat palace blown to smithereens.

Brunei–Oman relations

Brunei–Oman relations refers to bilateral foreign relations between Brunei and Oman. Brunei has an embassy in Muscat, and Oman has an embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Faisal bin Turki, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

Sayyid Faisal bin Turki, GCIE (8 June 1864 – 4 October 1913) (Arabic: السيد فيصل بن تركي‎), historic spelling Fessul bin Turkee, ruled as Sultan of Muscat and Oman from 4 June 1888 to 4 October 1913. He succeeded his father Turki bin Said as Sultan. Upon his death in 1913, he was succeeded by his eldest son Taimur bin Faisal.

On assuming power in 1888, Faisal ibn Turki gradually found his authority over the interior weakened as tribal leaders increasingly perceived his dependence on British advisers as an inherent weakness. In 1895 he was forced to seek refuge at Jalali fort after Muscat was captured. British political agents frustrated his efforts to recapture Muscat, compelling him to court the French. He granted the French coaling facilities for their fleet at Bandar Jissah near Muscat.

Determined to thwart any growth in French presence in what Britain considered its sphere of influence, Britain presented Faisal ibn Turki with an ultimatum in 1899 ordering the sultan to board the British flagship or Muscat would be bombarded. Having little recourse, Faisal ibn Turki capitulated. Publicly humiliated, his authority was irreversibly damaged. In 1903 he asked Lord George Nathaniel Curzon, viceroy of India, for permission to abdicate, but his request was denied. Responsibility for the capital was delegated to Said ibn Muhammad Al Said, while affairs of the interior fell to an ex-slave, Sulayman ibn Suwaylim. By 1913 control over the interior was completely lost, and a reconstituted imamate was again a threat to Muscat. In May 1913, Salim ibn Rashid al Kharusi was elected imam at Tanuf and spearheaded a revolt against the sultan that combined both Hinawi and Ghafiri tribal groups.

Jebel Akhdar War

The Jebel Akhdar War (Arabic: حرب الجبل الأخضر Ḥarb al-Jebel el-ʾAkhḍar) or the Jebel Akhdar rebellion broke out in 1954 and again in 1957 in Oman, as an effort by Imam Ghalib Alhinai to protect the Imamate of Oman lands from the advancement plans of Sultan Said bin Taimur, backed by the British government. The Imamate was eventually supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The war lasted until 1959, when the British armed forces decided to take on direct interventions using air and ground attacks on the Imamate, which won the Sultanate the war.

List of British representatives in Muscat and Oman

This is a list of British representatives in Muscat and Oman from 1800 to 1971. They were responsible for representing British interests in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman while the country was a British protectorate (from 20 March 1891 until 2 December 1971). Muscat and Oman was reconstituted as the modern-day Sultanate of Oman after the protectorate ended.

For British representatives in Oman since 1971, see: List of ambassadors of the United Kingdom to Oman.

List of rulers of Oman

The Sultan of the Sultanate of Oman is the monarch and head of state of Oman. It is the most powerful position in the country. The sultans of Oman are members of the Al Said dynasty, which is the ruling family of Oman since the mid-18th century.

Since 23 July 1970, Qaboos bin Said al Said is the current sultan.

Oman proper

Oman proper (Arabic: عُمَان ٱلْوُسْطَى‎, romanized: ʿUmān al-Wusṭā) may refer to Al Hajar Mountains, and the Imamate of Oman (Arabic: إِمَامَة عُمَان‎, romanized: Imāmat ʿUmān) refers to a historical area within the present-day Sultanate of Oman. It lay inland from Muscat beyond the Jibal Al-Akhdar (Green Mountains), and was centered on the city of Nizwa in the area of the current region of Ad-Dakhiliyah. Along with Muscat and Dhofar, it was a constituent part of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, but with the 1970 coup d'état, the term 'Oman' alone was applied to the entire country.Oman proper was ruled by Ibadite imams who exercised spiritual and often temporal authority over the region. The Imamate is a thousand-year-old system of government pioneered by the Ibadi religious leaders of Oman, and was based upon the Islamic sharia. It governed parts or the whole of Oman and other lands for interrupted periods of time for over 1000 years. There were often tensions between these imams and the sultans of Muscat, and in 1913, the election of Salim ibn Rashid al-Kharusi as imam led to the Seeb Peace Treaty between the Imamate of Oman, with its capital at Nizwa, and the Sultanate of Oman with its capital in Muscat. In 1954, a new imam, Ghalib bin Ali, defended the Imamate from attack from Muscat, after oil was discovered in his lands. Sultan Said Bin Taimur of Muscat with the help of the colonial British forces were able to win eventually. In 1955, Nizwa was taken, the imam had exiled to Saudi Arabia, but continued to lead the Imamate and guide the war efforts with a temporary government set-up in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. In 1959, the last forces of the Imamate were defeated and the name of the whole of Muscat and Oman was changed to the Sultanate of Oman in 1970.In current usage, "Oman proper" can also refer to the whole of the present-day sultanate minus the exclaves of Musandam and Madha.

Postage stamps and postal history of Muscat and Oman

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Muscat and Oman, including the present day Sultanate of Oman.

Revenue stamps of Oman

Revenue stamps of Oman were first issued in the 1930s and continue to do so to the present day. The first revenue stamps of c. 1930 consists of at least five stamps which depict palm trees and is inscribed State of Muscat and Oman in Arabic. Most examples of this issue are found in a private document archive, and very few are known in the hands of collectors.The second issue depicts Al Jalali Fort in Muscat, and it is inscribed Sultanate of Muscat and Oman in Arabic, and dated 1365 AH (1945–46 AD). Two of the four values from this set are only known as proofs and not as issued stamps. A third set of three values dated 1382 AH (1962–63 AD) also depicts the same fort. The first to third issues were all denominated in Indian annas and rupees.Between 1972 and 1974, a new set was issued denominated in Omani baiza and rials. It depicted the national emblem on a floral background and inscribed Sultanate of Oman in both Arabic and English. This issue was printed by Harrison and Sons and it consisted of fourteen values, four of which have not yet been recorded. In 1989, a similar set of ten stamps was issued, but the emblem was on a plain background and the printer was BDT International. In around 1998, the same design was issued with redrawn inscriptions, and in around 2011 it was issued in a slightly larger size. Seven different values from the c. 1998 and four from the c. 2011 issue have been recorded.A set of five revenues was printed by Waterlow and Sons for the Omani region of Dhofar, but it is unclear if these were ever issued.In the 1980s, labels were issued to pay for the Passenger Service Charge at Seeb International Airport in Muscat.

Said bin Sultan, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

Said bin Sultan Al-Said (Arabic: سعيد بن سلطان‎, Sa‘id bin Sulṭān, Swahili: Said bin Sultani) (5 June 1791 – 19 October 1856) was Sultan of Muscat and Oman from 1806 to 4 June 1856.

Said bin Taimur

Sultan Said bin Taimur (13 August 1910 – 19 October 1972; Arabic: سعيد بن تيمور‎; Balochi: Saíd bin Temúr) was the sultan of Muscat and Oman (the country later renamed to Oman) from 10 February 1932 until his overthrow on 23 July 1970 by his son Qaboos.

In 1932, at the age of 21, he became the 13th Sultan of the Said bin dynasty, replacing his father Taimur bin Feisal. In 1936 he married his second wife, Mezoon al-Mashani (cousin of his first wife, Fatima) who gave birth to Said's only son Qaboos bin Said al Said in 1940. Said consolidated power with the help of the British SAS in regaining control of the tribal interior, bringing together Muscat and Oman. Oman and Muscat then became fully sovereign and independent states in 1951 under Sultan Taimur. The name would change in 1970 to the Sultanate of Oman.

Once the country was united, Said left the capital of Muscat and resided in a coastal town in Dhofar. Said became more reclusive from his people and country. In 1965 after making concessions to export oil with Iraq, Iran, and Britain, he did little to improve the life of his people. The benefits of this deal would not come to fruition until his removal from power. His conservative policies became the reason Oman had an infant mortality rate of 75%. Trachoma, venereal disease and malnutrition were widespread. There were only 3 schools, with the literacy rate at 5%, and 6 miles of paved roads before the 1970 coup.

Salim bin Thuwaini, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

Sultan Sālim bin Thuwainī Āl Saʿīd (Arabic: سَالِم بِن ثُوَيْنِي آل سَعِيْد‎) was the Sultan of Muscat and Oman from 11 February 1866 – October 1868. He was the eldest son of Sultan Thuwaini bin Said and his wife Sayyida Ghaliya bint Salim Al-Busaidiyah, and acceded to the throne in succession to his father. Lewis Pelly and Henry Bartle Frere were deeply disappointed by the death of Sultan Thuwaini bin Said in their hopes for a military action against the Wahhabis, and were well aware of Salim's opposing views and refusal to join the ensuing war. Hence the British Political Resident General in the Gulf at Bushehr, Colonel Lewis Pelly, fiercely opposed the recognition of Salim whom he feared was to stop foreign interference and forge a peace deal with the Wahhabis.

Salim sent two envoys to Bombay, then under British rule, with a letter soliciting the renewal of relations between the British and Muscat Governments and reiterating his assertions regarding his father's death, namely, that he had died as a result of illness after three days of suffering and was quickly buried in accordance to Islamic tradition, to which the Government of India acknowledged the reigning prince as sultan in May 1866. Pelly tried to intervene and accused him of patricide through innuendo but was forestalled by the British Viceroy John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence who presented Salim with his governments official recognition.

In September 1868, Azzan bin Qais, Salim's brother-in-law and distant relative was elected imam by disgrunted tribesmen seeking to lead the country back to the principles of classical Ibadhi state, Azzan led his followers in a rapid series of raids on the Barkah, Mutrah and Muscat forts. With no support, Salim could not hold center and was forced to flee to one of the harbour fortresses. In his precipitate flight, he left his valuables behind together with many heirlooms of the dynasty, all of which were either plundered or destroyed by the invaders. On 11 October 1868, Salim embarked on his ship The Prince of Wales and sailed for Bandar-Abbas, from there he made several failed attempts to recover his lost dominions between October 1868 and March 1869. He made a final bid for the throne in 1875, however by that point, the British had formally recognized his uncle Turki bin Said as the new Sultan. Salim was captured and expelled aboard H.M.S.Daphne and was exiled to a fortress in Hyderabad, Sindh until he died of smallpox on 7 December 1876.

Sultanate of Muscat

The Sultanate of Muscat was a maritime empire during the 18th century, which in 1820 unified with the Imamate of Oman to form the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman.

Taimur bin Feisal

Al-Wasik Billah al-Majid Sheikh Taimur bin Faisal bin Turki, KCIE, CSI (1886 – 28 January 1965) (Arabic: تيمور بن فيصل بن تركي‎, Balochi: تیمور بن فیصل بن ترکی‎, Marathi: तैमूर बिन फैसल,) was the sultan of Muscat and Oman from 5 October 1913 to 10 February 1932. He was born at Muscat and succeeded his father Faisal bin Turki, Sultan of Muscat and Oman as Sultan.

Thuwaini bin Said, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

Sultan Thuwaini bin Said al-Said (Arabic: ثويني بن سعيد ال سعيد‎, Sayyied Thuwaynī bin Sa‘id al-Sa‘id) (1821–1866) also called Tueni, Sultan of Muscat and Oman (October 19, 1856 – February 11, 1866), was the third son of Said bin Sultan, Sultan of Muscat and Oman. Thuwaini was born in Oman, and never visited Zanzibar. When his father was away in Zanzibar, Thuwaini was his representative in Oman.

Thuwaini was married to his cousin Ralie (Sayyida Ghaliya bint Salim Al Busaidi), daughter of his father's elder brother Salim Ibn Sultan. They had several children.After the death of Said bin Sultan on Zanzibar in 1856, Thuwaini became Sultan of Muscat and Oman, while his brother, the sixth son, Majid, took power on Zanzibar. Through British mediation it was agreed that Majid should pay a yearly tribute to Oman. However, Majid paid this tribute a few years only, and when he stopped, Thuwaini was in no position to enforce payment from the much wealthier Zanzibar. This left Muscat and Oman in a difficult financial situation. Thuwaini was forced to levy duties on various articles, creating malcontent. In 1866 he was rumored to have been killed by his own son, Sayyid Salim bin Thuwaini.

William Gifford Palgrave relates how, when they were shipwrecked in March 1863 on Sowadah Island just off Oman, they were very well received and treated by Thuwaini.

Treaty of Seeb

The Treaty of Seeb (variously Sib or As Sib) was an agreement reached between the Sultan of Muscat, Taimur bin Feisal (1886–1965), and the Imamate of Oman on 25 September 1920. It recognised Omani autonomy within the interior regions of Muscat and Oman, which was a British protectorate at the time. The treaty was named after As Sib, a coastal town in present-day Oman.

Prior to the treaty, Salim ibn Rashid al-Kharusi instigated an anti-Muscat rebellion among the conservative Ibadhi sects in the interior mountainous areas of Oman and founded the Islamic Imamate of Oman in opposition to Muscat. With British assistance, the Treaty of As Sib went into effect in 1920. The capital of the Imamate was created in the town of Nizwa. The Imam Salim ibn Rashid al-Kharusi was murdered in July 1924 and a new Imam, Imam Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Khalili, elected.

Relationships between Muscat and Oman were relatively peaceful until 1954 when, following the occupation of the Buraimi oasis in 1952 by Saudi Arabia and the death of Imam Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Khalili, Saudi Arabia supported the new Imam Ghalib bin Ali Al Hinai. This support rapidly enabled a rebellion in Jebel Akhdar under the leadership of Sheikh Suleiman bin Himyar al-Nabhani to spread. In 1955 Sultan Said bin Taimour occupied Nizwa. The brother of the new Imam, Sheikh Talib bin Ali Al Hinai, who resided in Saudi Arabia gradually restarted the rebellion Jebel Akhdar and eventually re-joined his followers in Oman. The war's conclusion was in January 1959 when a military defeat of the rebels once again sent the leaders into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Turki bin Said, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

Sayyid Turki bin Said, GCSI (1832 – 4 June 1888) (Arabic: تركي بن سعيد‎, Balochi: ترکی بن سعید‎) was Sultan of Muscat and Oman from 30 January 1871 to 4 June 1888. He was the fifth son of Said bin Sultan.

On Turki's death, he was succeeded by his second son, Faisal bin Turki. Sultan Qaboos of Oman is a direct descendant of Turki bin Said.

Turki had five children:

Sayyid Muhammad bin Turki al-Said (1860–?)

Sayyid Faisal bin Turki al-Said (1864–1913)

Sayyid Fahad bin Turki al-Said (?-1894)

Sayyida Turkia bint Turki al-Said who married a cousin, Sheikh Harub bin Thuwaini Al-Said

Sayyida (name unknown) bint Turki al-Said.

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