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Volume :13 Issue : 50 1995      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Strife for Power in the Arab Sultanate of Zanzibar During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century (in Arabic)

Auther : Benyan Sa'oud Torki

This research investigates the strife for power which broke out between Al-Bu Saidi family members over the Arab Sultanate of Zanzibar during the last decades of the Nineteenth Century A.D. The motives behind this family dispute are highlighted, with particular emphasis on the British attitudes towards these events.

The study is divided into certain spans of time or eras in accordance with the succession to power in this Arab Sultanate, starting with Sayid Barghash the ruler of Zanzibar (1870-1888) and his efforts to seize the throne during the reign of his brother Sayid Majid. The role of the British Government is thorougly dwelt upon, with special stress on the expulsion of Barghash and his exile, and then his evental return to Zanizbar. Also there is an analysis of the reasons that motivated the British government to invest this same Sultan with power, and why his request to nominate his son as his successor was denied by the British.

Next, more light is cast upon circumstances, which led to the appointment of Sayid Khalifa as Sultan of Zanzibar (1888-1890), explaining his strained relations with the foreign consuls and especially the British Consul, who played a major part in instigating the Sultans brother, Sayid Ali and some leading Arab figures to ask for the submission of the Sultan and thereupon his acceptance of the «Status quo)), in order to let him stay in power.

The story of the appointment of Sayid Ali bin Said as Sultan of Zanzibar (1880-1893) is subsequently examined, an appointment which was preconditioned by his agreement to declare Zanzibar as a British protectorate, and to make many financial and administrative concessions as a price for his stay in power.

The paper then deals with the deteriorating health conditions of the Sultan, a matter which encouraged diverse claimants to the throne of Zanzibar, and the policy of the British government towards these conditions, with special attention to the British demands put forward by Consul Portal for the succession to the throne.

The study next deals with the attempt of Amir Khalid to seize the throne, and his failure in the attempt, and subsequently the appointment of Hamad ibn Thuwaini as Sultan of Zanzibar.

The conclusions drawn up from this study testify to the assumption that the British government made full use of the issue of succession between the sons and grandsons of Sultan Said as a serious weapon to impose its policy, looking at this issue of succession as a matter of its concern alone. And thus the British government made the appointees to the Sultanate feel that they rule under the British influence and domination, and not as a result of popular choice or agreement. 

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