BC I AD I Chinese Visit I Arrival of Alawis I Ibn Batuta I Vasco da Gama I Francis Drake I Omanis defeat Portuguese I Albusaid Dynasty begins I Said bin Sultan born I Livinstone born I Omanis in Zanzibar I Stanley born I Seyyid Said dies I UMCA arrive Zanzibar I Majid dies I Livingstone dies I Alawi dynasty ends I Germans arrive EA I Barghash dies I British Protectorate I Bombardment I Stanley dies I Slavery Abolished I WWI begins I Revolution
1000 BC For the last three thousand years at least, sailors and traders from Arabia and the Persian Gulf used the north east monsoon winds (from mid December until the end of February and called “Kaskazi” – they herald the long or “Masika” rains) to voyage to the east coast of Africa bringing knives, spears, metalwork, beads and later firearms.
Between April and September, the south west monsoon (called the “Kusi”, which brings the short, or “Vuli” rains) blew the sailors back again across two thousand miles of the Indian Ocean, carrying their cargoes of gold, tortoise-shell, ivory and slaves.
700 BC The first mention of the land of “Zinj”. This was controlled by the Sabaean kingdom of Saba or Sheba whose queen visited Solomon and marvelled at his wealth. The Sabaeans were a maritime people, the descendants of Joktan (Genesis 10: 26-9) who lived in Southern Arabia. They dominated the carrying trade of the east, controlling the spice trade and supplying the eastern world with gold, slaves, tortoise-shell, ambergris, ebony and ivory, brought in dhows from the coast of Zinj to Arabia.
The Sabaean kingdom lasted until the 1st century B.C. when the Indian trade ceased to be carried by sea and went by land. Their decline was speeded by a disaster to the great dam which irrigated the country. The whole land dried up and the capital city, Marib, became a ruin.
45 BC Hippalus the Egyptian revealed the existence of the monsoons and trade winds to the world and gave the West the key to the East. The Phoenicians, the Arabs, the Persians and the Hindus had kept their knowledge of these winds secret for centuries.
At about this time certain African tribes from the mainland made small separate settlements on Unguja and Pemba. They crossed over to the islands in their dug-out outrigger canoes – similar to the ngalawas of today. They were taller than the present day people and they worshipped trees and the sun.
100 BC An anonymous seafarer wrote the “Periplus of the Erythraean Sea”, or Circumnavigation of the Indian Ocean. This is probably the earliest firsthand account of the East African coast to have survived and it mentions an island called “Menouthias”, off the shores of Azania. This may have been Pemba.A.D.
630 AD Oman embraced Islam
The Saracen wars in Arabia and Persia stimulated sailors and traders to settle on the East African coast from Mogadishu in the north to Cape Delgado in the south. They exported gold, ivory and slaves to Arabia, Persia and India in exchange for manufactured goods such as cloth, oil, beads and weapons.
Between the 6th and 11th centuries Shirazian and Shiite cities such as Lamu, Pate, Malindi, Mombasa, Warsheik, Brava, Mafia, Bagamoyo, Rhapta, Kunduchi and Kilwa (10th century) were built with regular streets, wooden and stone houses and fine mosques. They were often fortified and built on islands to protect themselves against the Zinj people of the mainland.
701 AD The first Persian settlement in Zanzibar. The immigrants intermingled with the indigenous population, who had been present from the first century B.C. or even before. Their descendants are known as the Watumbatu and theWapemba. Tumbatu is an islet on the northern tip of Zanzibar where the remains of an ancient Shirazian city have been found. From the 9th to the 15th centuries Pemba – Al Huthera, the Green One – was occupied by Persians who built Mkumbu in the west, a garrison at Pujini in the east and Chwaka in the north.
908 AD The states of Mogadishu and Barava were founded by the seven brothers of El Hasa.
975 AD The state of Kilwa, important for its gold trade, was founded by Hassan bin Ali, a Persian prince who came to East Africa with his six sons and stayed in Zanzibar, Pemba, Mombasa, Kilwa and Comoro. This was considered to be the start of the Zenj Empire: 975 – 1503. It is possible to trace the names of all the Sultans of Kilwa from 900 A.D. onwards, from coins that were minted and used there until the coming of the Europeans. Kilwa’s domain extended to Sofala in the south, from which the gold of Zimbabwe was shipped. The Sultan rule in Kilwa lapsed in the 18th century.
1000 AD Much trade went on at this time between China and East Africa via India, Persia and Arabia.
Chinese ships visited the East African coast regularly from this time and their crews mingled with the inhabitants, leaving descendants. Chinese charts for the Indian Ocean were in use by 1200 A.D. In 1430 a Chinese fleet visited Zanzibar.
1107 AD 30th June: Kizimkazi mosque was founded in Zanzibar by a Persian ruler named Kiza; it was built by a foreman named Kizi, hence the name of the building.
1204 AD Traditional date of claiming of Tumbatu island by Yusuf bin Sultan bin Ibrahim el Alawi, who was a Shirazian Persian prince from Bushire. Yusuf built a large palace at Kichangani on the east coast. When he died he was buried there with his wife and daughter. There was a mosque nearby but this has been replaced by the present one. Yusuf sent his son Ismail to Kilwa where he became very important and wealthy. The el Alawi dynasty lasted nearly 60 generations and it was this family who were the rulers of Zanzibar until the coming of the Albusaid Sultans.
The most famous of these kings of Zanzibar was Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hassan el Alawi, better known as the “Mwinyi Mkuu”, who was born in 1785. Around the year 1845 he built a palace in the centre of Unguja Island, at Dunga. A ghostly hooded figure is supposed to have been seen there many times. Dunga Palace has now been restored by the Zanzibar Museums and Archives.
The Mwinyi Mkuu lived and ruled over the south east part of the island, while Seyyid Said, the first Albusaid Sultan, lived in Zanzibar stone town, only 11 miles away. He was regarded with superstitious dread by the whole population; when he died at the age of 80 in 1865 he was succeeded by a weak son of little character. When the son in turn died in 1873 the 670 year old dynasty of the el Alawi kings of Zanzibar terminated.
1331 AD The Arab traveller Ibn Batuta visited Mombasa.
1430 AD A Chinese fleet visited Zanzibar under Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He, who was a Muslim. His huge ships dwarfed anything constructed in the Western fifteenth century world: they were 500 feet long and weighed 15oo tons. Zheng He was the last in a series of great Chinese navigators who took expeditions to map the western seas as far as East Africa. After this, the Ming dynasty Emperors banned any further voyages and explorations. The reason for this ban is still unknown today.
1450 AD The “Mkame Mdume”, (the crusher of private parts) – a Persian prince named Mohammed Abdulrahman – became ruler of Pemba where he reigned ruthlessly for 40 years, living at Pujini; he disappeared mysteriously one day and was never seen again but the people of Pemba still fear that he may return.
1497 AD 8th July: Vasco da Gama departed Lisbon for the East.
1498 AD 2nd March: Vasco da Gama anchored at Mozambique. 4th April: Sighted Mafia island. 5th April: Passed the northern portion of Zanzibar Island. 6th + 7th April: Touched points of Pemba Island.
1499 AD 28th February: Vasco da Gama arrived at Zanzibar on his return journey from India. This marked the beginning of 200 years of Portuguese domination over Zanzibar and Pemba.
1503 AD The Portuguese destroyed the Zenj Moslem Empire (975-1503) which then became subject to Portugal.
1508 AD Muscat, Sohar and Karyat captured by Alfonso de Albuquerque.
1511 AD The Portuguese conquered the straits of Hormuz, the key to the Gulf, from the Oman Arabs. They kept it under subjection for 111 years.
1580 AD Sir Francis Drake’s “Pelican” was the first English ship to round the Cape, homeward bound westward after her circumnavigation of the globe.
1591 AD 17th November: The “Edward Bonaventure”, under the command of Sir James Lancaster, reached Zanzibar on her journey east trying to reach the Indies. The ship dropped anchor at Unguja Ukuu, the old capital city on Zanzibar’s main island of Unguja, where water was drawn from the ancient well. They took on provisions of fish, fruit, beef and chickens and remained till 15th Febrary 1592. This was the first visit of an English ship to Zanzibar and Captain Lancaster noticed at this time that there were vessels arriving from Indian ports. They came from Cutch, Kathiawar and Gujarat, in the north-west part of India.
This expedition led to the establishment of the British trade route to India and the founding of the British East India Company of which Lancaster became a director. The “Edward” was wrecked in the East Indies later during this expedition and therefore never returned to England.
1594 AD The Portuguese built Fort Jesus at Mombasa.
1608 AD December: Captain Sharpey visited Pemba en route to India. Together with some of his men, he was beguiled ashore and then attacked and killed by the inhabitants, at the instigation of the Portuguese.
1622 AD The Portuguese lost the straits of Hormuz to the Oman Arabs again.
1627 AD Mombasa and Pemba rebelled against the Portuguese.
1635 AD Arab insurrection in Mombasa and Pemba put down by the Portuguese.
1651 AD The Portuguese driven out of Muscat of Oman by Imam Sultan bin Saif. Imam Sultan then attacked the Portuguese possessions in East Africa.
1652 AD The Oman Arabs attacked Zanzibar Island. This led to a general revolt against the Portuguese who quelled the rebellion with great severity. In doing so they destroyed the old capital, Unguja Ukuu.
1696 AD The Oman Arabs, under Imam Saif bin Sultan, conquered Mombasa from the Portuguese.
1699 AD Saif bin Sultan drove the Portuguese out of Pemba and Kilwa.
1711 AD Imam Saif bin Sultan died.
1727 AD The Portuguese re-took Mombasa temporarily.
1729 AD The Portuguese were finally driven out of Mombasa by the Oman Arabs after more than 200 years. Known by the people of the Swahili coast as “Afriti”, or devils, the only present-day remnants of the Portuguese occupation of Pemba are the old fort at Chake-Chake and the curious custom of bull-fighting which still goes on there today. On Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar, there are some signs of the Portuguese church which stood on the site of the Old Fort erected by the Oman Arabs in the 18th century. There are also a few bronze cannon captured at Hormuz in 1622. At Unguja Ukuu, the old capital of Zanzibar there are some archaeological remains of a Portuguese church.
1741 AD Ahmed bin Said, the founder of the Albusaid Dynasty, whose origins are unknown, was elected Imam of Oman.
The modern city of Zanzibar began to grow.
1746 AD Imam Seyyid Ahmed bin Said ended the independent rule of Zanzibar by the el Alawi family when he appointed a liwali, (representative, or deputy ruler) Abdulla bin Djad, to represent him there.
1775 AD Death of Ahmed bin Said (1741-1775) and succession by his fifth son Sultan, the father of Said.
1791 AD Birth of Said bin Sultan, who was to become the first Albusaid Sultan of Zanzibar in 1832. (b.1791-d.1856)
1799 AD Admiral Blankett touched Zanzibar on his way north to the Red Sea. He was told that no British ship had called there within living memory.
1804 AD Seyyid Sultan bin Ahmed died in a sea fight with pirates. On the 20th November Seyyid Said bin Sultan (reigned as Sultan of Oman 1804-1856) ascended the throne of Oman. He was 13 years old so his cousin Bedr ruled as regent in hi place. When Said was 17 he murdered Bedr and ruled alone.
1807 AD The buying and selling of slaves and their transportation in British ships was forbidden in all British Colonies.
1811 AD Visit of the British research ship “Termate” commanded by Thomas Smee.
1813 AD 19th March: David Livingstone (1813-1890) was born in a single tenement room in Blantyre, Scotland. He was one of five children.
1821 AD 19th March: Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was born at Torquay.
1822 AD Governor Farquhar of Mauritius sent Captain Fairfax Moresby to Muscat, which was at that time the capital of Seyyid Said of Oman. Moresby was to negotiate a treaty with the Sultan prohibiting the sale of slaves to any Christian nation. Under pressure from the British, who had helped him to subdue the Jawasmi pirates from the Persian Gulf in 1810 and 1819, Seyyid Said signed this agreement which became known as the Moresby Treaty. It prohibited the Sultan’s subjects from shipping slaves between the Sultan’s ports and any country south of Cape Delgado or east of a line drawn from Diu head to a point 60 miles east of Socotra. Any Arab vessel which violated this decree could be seized by the Sultan’s own ships or those of the Royal Navy if found outside these boundaries. However, the Zanzibar dhows still had free passage up the coast to southern Arabia and it was their custom to hug the coast in any case, so they largely escaped the consequences of the Moresby Treaty. In spite of anti-slavery decrees, in the early 19th century the average number of slaves captured on mainland Africa and transported to Zanzibar via the coastal towns of Bagamoyo, Kilwa, Lindi and Mikindani was 30-40,000 a year. Only half that number survived the journey. About 10,000 a year were re-exported to Arabia and elsewhere. In Oman itself, one-third of its population consisted of slaves in 1835. In fact many more limited edicts were to be declared before slavery finally became totally illegal in Zanzibar on 5th April 1897.
1823 AD Captain Owen arrived on the East African coast on his surveying mission. The charts which he made of the area remain almost unaltered to this day. His was only the fourth British ship to have touched the coast north of Zanzibar and his expedition, occasioned by the fear of Napoleon breaking through into Arabia and India, marked the beginning of European interest in East Africa.
1825 AD The Arab trade route was first laid open to Lake Tanganyika by Saif bin Said el Muameri. 1827 AD Seyyid Said set sail from Oman at the head of a large fleet to conquer Mombasa from the rebelling Mazrui Arabs.
1828 AD 4th January: Mombasa surrendered to Seyyid Said. First visit of Seyyid Said to Zanzibar. Clove planting began in Zanzibar and Pemba by Seyyid Said on a systematic plan.
1832 AD Seyyid Said selected Zanzibar to be the capital of his African possessions.
1833 AD Seyyid Said entered into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States of America. This was the first diplomatic contact of the Sultanate of Zanzibar with the western world.
1834 AD Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire.
1835 AD January to February: The British ship H.M.S. “Imogen” visited Zanzibar, having taken fifteen days for the voyage from Bombay.
1837 AD The Consulate of the United States of America opened in Zanzibar. The Mazrui Arabs in Mombasa finally submitted to the rule of Seyyid Said.
1839 AD 31st May: Commercial convention between Muscat and Great Britain. Foundation of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Seyyid Said moved permanently to Zanzibar. The French, having annexed some of the Comoro Islands and Nossi Be off Madagascar, began making movement up the coast as far as Barawa, 400 miles north of Mombasa. Lord Palmerston warned them off but demanded another concession from the Sultan with regard to the slave trade, in return for his intervention. Colonel Hamerton therefore negotiated an agreement with Seyyid Said forbidding the export of slaves from Africa to Arabia.
1841 AD 28th January: Birth of John Rowlands, later to change his name to Henry Morton Stanley, (1841-1904) in Denbigh, North Wales. 4th May: Great Britain established a Consulate in Zanzibar. Colonel Atkins Hamerton became the first British Consul at Zanzibar.
1843 AD The Missionary explorers Krapf and Rebmann reported that slavery was fast depopulating the mainland, carrying death and desolation far into the interior. The Sultan’s Empire was an Empire of death.
1844 AD Commercial Treaty between France and Muscat.
1845 AD Seyyid Said signed a Treaty forbidding the export of slaves from his African dominions. However, this did not prevent the transport of slaves along the mainland coast.
1848 -1849 AD Krapf and Rebmann were the first outsiders to see Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Slavery abolished in the French Dominions.
1856 AD 19th October: Seyyid Said, who had been very ill, died on board his frigate, the “Victoria”, off the Seychelles whilst trying to reach Zanzibar from Muscat. He had ruled for 52 years and was 65 years old when he died, leaving 112 children by 70 partners. He had three legal wives, none of whom had offspring. His had been a long and successful reign: the population of Zanzibar rose from 5,000 to nearly 100,000 in his time, mostly living in the town. Indian businessmen flocked in to the islands at this time. Seyyid Said was succeeded in Oman by Seyyid Thuwain, his third and eldest surviving son and in Zanzibar by Seyyid Majid, his fourth son. Thuwain was not content to rule only half of his father’s empire. He sailed for Zanzibar to claim the other half but was intercepted by the Royal Navy on the orders of Lord Canning, Governor-General of India, and turned back. This event marked the permanent political separation of Zanzibar from Oman, though this was only formally announced in 1861. His brother Barghash, backed by the French Consul, attempted to support Thuwain in Zanzibar. He was forcibly removed from his house by naval parties from British ships and exiled to India. For the next two years he lived in Bombay where he received a house, a carriage and RS 1,000 a month. After this he was allowed to return and live quietly in Zanzibar. His stay in India probably broadened his outlook, especially where architecture and style were concerned because when he succeeded to the throne in 1870 his rule was a time of considerable increase in the number of palaces and monuments in Zanzibar. 19th December: Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke arrived in Zanzibar two months after the death of Seyyid Said. The population of Zanzibar was about 100,000 at this time, of whom about 5,000 were Arabs. About 30,000 slaves were imported annually at this time, about 10,000 of which were destined for the clove plantations of Zanzibar, which was still legal.
1857 AD 16th June: Burton and Speke set off for the mainland in the Sultan’s corvette Artemise on their search for the source of the White Nile. 5th July: Lt. Col. Hamerton died at Zanzibar and was buried on Grave Island. 4th December: David Livingstone’s speech at Cambridge, appealing to the British for missionary help to Central Africa to stop slavery at its source. He caused an uproar and Victorian Britain became much more aware of the situation in Africa. Anti-slavery political pressure now increased.
1858 AD “Discovery” of Lake Victoria Nyanza by John Hanning Speke.
1859 AD In this year it was recorded that a healthy adult slave in Zanzibar cost between £2 and £7 and a boy or girl between £1 and £2 10s. A donkey on the other hand cost between £4 10s and £12. Zanzibar decimated by cholera, over 10,000 deaths occurring. 4th March: Burton and Speke returned to Zanzibar after discovering the Victoria Nyanza. 13th June: Treaty of Commerce between Zanzibar and the German Hanseatic Republics. 16th September: Livingstone first saw Lake Nyasa, together with Dr John Kirk.
1860 AD The first band of Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) workers including Charles Frederick Mackenzie, the first Bishop, sailed for Cape Town.
1861 AD 12th January: The UMCA Bishop and his party sailed from Cape Town on HMS “Lyra” to the mouth of the Rovuma River where they joined Dr David Livingstone and Dr John Kirk, attempting to enter Central Africa first via the Rovuma – this effort failed – and later via the Zambezi. In July the party reached the Shire River, a branch of the Zambezi which flows from Lake Nyasa; they tried to settle there. 2nd April: Lord Canning’s Commission’s Award resulted in the formal separation of Zanzibar from Oman.
1862 AD 31st January: Death of Bishop Mackenzie on the Shire. 10th March: France and Britain recognised the independence of Muscat and Zanzibar. Speke and Grant traced the Nile to its source. 28th July: John Hanning Speke identified the Ripon Falls as the source of the Nile.
1862 -1867 AD During these five years, 97,203 slaves were exported from Kilwa to Zanzibar. (about 16,000 yearly). Kilwa was a major centre of slave export trade in those days and the city made thousands of pounds annually from the head tax on slaves captured from the inner regions.
1864 AD 31st August: The second UMCA Bishop Tozer, together with Dr Steere, landed at Zanzibar for the first time. The Bishop decided to establish the headquarters of the UMCA in Zanzibar and send his workers to the mainland from there. This was the first Christian missionary settlement n East Africa. The Anglican Church was to go forward from this point and build many schools for all ages and both sexes, hospitals, churches and cathedrals – both in Zanzibar and on the mainland.
1865 AD 3rd June: King George Vth of Great Britain born. The Mwinyi Mkuu, born in 1785, died in this year. He was succeeded by his son.
1866 AD 1st February: Dr Livingstone arrived in Zanzibar. 19th March: On his 53rd birthday, David Livingstone entered the mainland of Africa for the last time. He was to journey there for seven years, searching for the source of the Nile, until his death on 1st May, 1873. In this year Dr John Kirk married, and joined the British Consulate in Zanzibar as Surgeon-General. He became Acting Consul soon afterwards.
1869 AD The Suez Canal was opened. November: Cholera epidemic in Zanzibar.
1870 AD 7th October: Seyyid Majid died and Barghash, his next oldest brother, ascended the throne. Born in 1835, the son of a concubine like all Seyyid Said’s children, Barghash died in 1888. His reign was a prosperous one for Zanzibar. He built many palaces, mosques, schools, and public buildings including the Hamamni Baths and the House of Wonders. He laid an aqueduct from a freshwater spring at Chem Chem to bring a supply of clean water to the city. Once a year he placed a ship at the disposal of those of the faithful who wished to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. He also built the first railway in East Africa: the light 2ft gauge line to Chukwani Palace, 6 miles south of the Stone Town was built in 1875 to carry horse-drawn trams, ferrying the Sultan and his entourage to this country retreat. It was adapted to steam in 1881 when the “Sultanee”, a tiny British locomotive began to be used on the line. It was in action until the 1890s when a road was laid to Chukwani, replacing the railway. Yet another severe cholera epidemic raged in Zanzibar, (the third in 10 years) resulting in the loss of about one third of the population. About 10,000 people died in the town alone and 30,000 on Unguja Island.
1871 AD 4th November: Henry Morton Stanley found Dr David Livingstone at Ujiji and greeted him with the famous words: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”
1872 AD 15th April: Zanzibar visited by the most terrible cyclone in its history; it destroyed many of the clove trees. Fortunately Pemba escaped the worst of its fury and the clove industry was saved. 15th December: The first steamship service to Zanzibar began. The British Steam Navigation Company started a regular monthly mail service between Aden and Zanzibar
.1873 AD Sir John Kirk was made the first British Agent and Consul-General at Zanzibar. He held this post until he returned to England in 1887. 12th January: Sir Bartle Frere arrived in Zanzibar from Britain to review the slavery situation. 2nd May: David Livingstone died at Chitambo’s village, Ilala, near Lake Bangweolo, Zambia. 5th June: A treaty for the suppression of the slave trade was signed by Sultan Barghash. The Sultan decreed that all slave markets in his dominions, including that of Zanzibar, should be closed. Cessation of the export of slaves from the mainland east coast would be enforced. Citizens of Indian States under British protection were prohibited from possessing slaves and from acquiring new ones. 25th December: Captain Prideaux, Acting British Consul-General, laid the foundation stone of the Universities’ Missions to Central Africa (UMCA) Christ Church Cathedral, Zanzibar: the altar lay just behind the site of the whipping post of the slave market at Mkunazin
In this year the last of the El Alawi dynasty kings of Zanzibar died.
1874 AD 15th February: Susi and Chuma walked into Bagamoyo after their 11 months’ journey from Ilala, carrying the body of David Livingstone. H.M.S. Vulture shipped them across to Zanzibar where the body was laid in Hamerton House, home of the British Consul. 11th March: The mail ship sailed for England with Livingstone’s body. 18th April: David Livingstone was buried in Westminster Abbey.
1875 AD Seyyid Barghash paid a state visit to Great Britain and was the guest of Queen Victoria at Windsor. He attended the races at Ascot and Doncaster and was given a firework display at the Crystal Palace. He was also entertained by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Zanzibar National Anthem was composed by Sir Dan Godfrey and played for the first time at St James’s Palace.
1876 AD Seyyid Barghash decreed that the conveyance of slaves by land under any conditions was prohibited and also the approach of slave caravans to the coast from the interior was forbidden.
1877 AD 28th November: Stanley and his men returned from their expedition to the West Coast of Africa and back Lt. Lloyd Mathews, R.N., of H.M.S. London commenced the training of a force of a military body of about 300 men. Their purpose was to patrol on the mainland to carry out the edict of 1876. By 1880 his force had increased to 1300 men.1879 AD 26th August: Seyyid Khalifa bin Harub (ruled 1911 to 1960) was born at Muscat. 25th October: A Commercial Treaty between Portugal and Zanzibar was signed. 27th December: Cable communication established with Europe, the Eastern Telegraph Company having completed the laying of their cable from Aden to Zanzibar. Seyyid Barghash ceded to the E.T.C. the small island of Bawe, off Zanzibar Town, for landing the cab
1880 AD 25th December: First celebration in Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, which now came into daily use. Designed and built by Bishop Steere, it took exactly 7 years to complete.
1881 AD Sir Lloyd Mathews, who now had an army of 1300 men, retired from the Royal Navy and entered the Sultan’s service with the rank of General. His force was used to maintain the Sultan’s authority on the mainland coast and to suppress slave smugglers.
1884 AD The German flag was first raised in East Africa. Dr Karl Peters landed at Bagamoyo and persuaded a number of chiefs to sign treaties surrendering large tracts of mainland to his “Society for German Colonisation”. Kaiser Wilhelm I convened an international conference in Berlin where it was agreed that no nation would annexe any part of Africa without giving due notice. The day after this, the Kaiser announced that Germany had taken under her imperial protection all the territories (about 60,000 square miles) newly acquired by Dr Peters on the mainland.
1885 AD The German Emperor gave a Charter to the German East Africa Company to administer the territories they laid claim to on the mainland. 28th May: Commercial Treaty between Italy and Zanzibar signed. 30th May: Commercial Convention between Belgium and Zanzibar signed. 7th August: German blockade of Zanzibar. A squadron of five German warships anchored off Zanzibar and delivered an ultimatum to Seyyid Barghash to recognise German occuptaion of the Territory which came to be known as German East Africa as well as of the Sultanate of Witu on the coast north of Mombasa at the mouth of the Tana river. 17th October: Lt. Col. (afterwards Earl) Kitchener, appointed British Commissioner on the Zanzibar Boundary Commission. December: Britain and Germany met in Zanzibar and agreed to recognise the Sultan’s authority over the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia and Lamu and over a coastal strip about 700 miles long and 10 miles wide, stretching from the Rovuma to the Tana. North of the Tana the Sultan would still hold the towns of Barawa, Merka, Mogadishu and Warsheik.
1886 AD 8th November: Zanzibar adhered to the Berlin Treaty. The Delimitation Treaty defined the British and German spheres of influence in East Africa. The hinterland behind the Sultan’s coastal strip was divided into two spheres of influence: the northern part from the Fumba river to the Tana was allotted to the British. The southern part from the Umba to the Rovuma was allocated to the Germans. The two powers had divided the Sultan’s Empire between them. From this point on Zanzibar’s control of the mainland was virtually nonexistent.
1887 AD 9th July: Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee festivities in Zanzibar. At 4 pm the foundation stone of the Ithnashiri Dispensary was laid by Tharia Topan, a merchant in the city. A golden trowel was used and the stone laid to the music of the Sultan’s band. 11th August: Commercial Convention signed between Austria and Zanzibar.
1888 AD 26th March: Seyyid Barghash died, having been ill for some years of consumption and elephantiasis. He had reigned for 18 years and was succeeded by Seyyid Khalifa bin Said. (Reigned 1888-1890). Khalifa had been imprisoned by Barghash in a dungeon under the palace for six years under suspicion of intrigue and was “somewhat weak in the head”. 16th August: The German East Africa Company leased the coastal strip from the Umba to the Rovuma from Seyyid Khalifa, largely through the offices of Carl Peters. Resistance began in Pangani against the oppressive rule of the German East Africa Company and this soon spread along the whole coast, fomenting the “Maji Maji” rebellion. The leaders were Abushiri bin Salim, an Arab, and Bwani Heri, a Mzigua. The resistance was crushed by the Germans after two years, during which time there was considerable unrest and some missionaries and other foreigners were killed. 3rd September: The Imperial British East Africa Company received a Charter from the British Government. The British East Africa Protectorate and the Uganda Protectorate came into being. 2nd December: Blockade of Zanzibar coast by British warships.
1889 AD 31st August: Agreement for the administration of part of Zanzibar’s Mainland Territories by the British Imperial East Africa Company. 13th September: Edicts were issued by Sultan Khalifa freeing all children of slaves born after 1st January, 1890. 1st October: Blockade of Zanzibar coast raised.
1890 AD 13th February: Seyyid Khalifa bin Said died. Though normally in good health, he had been visiting his country palace at Chukwani for a change of air. After his return from a few hours’ shooting he was seized with a high fever and soon afterwards he died of heat apoplexy at the age of 36. Seyyid Ali bin Said acceded to the throne of Zanzibar. (Reigned 1890-1893). 14th June: Agreement between Zanzibar and Great Britain in respect of making Zanzibar a British Protectorate. 2nd July: General Act of Brussels Conference providing for the suppression of the slave trade by sea and land and for the restriction of the import of alcoholic liquor and of firearms, which the slavers had supplied to the mainland chiefs in exchange for slaves. Procedures were laid down for the searching of vessels on the high seas, compelling them to fly a national flag and to provide lists of crew and passengers. 20th October: Sir Richard Burton, explorer, died, 69 years of age. 4th November: A British Protectorate over Zanzibar and Pemba was proclaimed. The Protectorate was recognised by Germany in exchange for the Island of Heligoland in the North Sea. Germany also agreed to give up her protectorate at Witu and all claims to territory in Uganda. France accepted the Protectorate on recognition by Great Britain of the French Protectorate over Madagascar. Thus, the Albusaid Sultancy of Zanzibar lost its power. The post of First Minister to the Sultan was created and Sir Lloyd Mathews filled the post. 27th December: Germany paid 4 million gold marks – about £200,000 – to Zanzibar for the coast (with its hinterland) between the rivers Umba and Rovuma and the Island of Mafia.
1891 AD A constitutional government was established with Sir Lloyd Mathews as First Minister of the Sultan. The Sultan’s Civil List was fixed at 250,000 rupees a year. The first budget was drawn up.
1892 AD 1st February: Zanzibar was declared a Free Port and the 5% ad calorem duty was abolished. (This step was taken to counteract the trade competition offered by the ports of the neighbouring German East Africa.) The Zanzibar Gazette was first published. 12th August: Concession of Benadir Ports to Italy.
1893 AD 5th March: Seyyid Ali bin Said died. He was the last of the sons of the great Sultan, Seyyid Said, to occupy the throne of Zanzibar. First attempt by Seyyid Khaled, the obstinate and proud young eighteen year old son of Barghash, to occupy the palace and usurp the throne. He was taken away to his own house by the British Consul General, Sir Rennell Rodd, Sir Lloyd Mathews and an escort of marines from H.M.S. Philomel and H.M.S. Blanche. Seyyid Hamed bin Thuwain, eldest son of the eldest living son of Sultan Said, Thuwain, Sultan of Oman, acceded. (Reigned 1893-1896). At the command of his uncle the Sultan, Seyyid Khalifa bin Harub came to Zanzibar for the first time at the age of 13. The same year Khalifa, accompanied by his brother-in-law Seyyid Ali bin Hammound, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Italy bought the towns of Barawa, Merka, Mogadishu and Warsheik and the adjacent Benadir coast from the Sultan for a cash payment.
1895 AD 14th December: Agreement respecting Zanzibar’s mainland territories. The Imperial British East Africa Company came to an end, its territory coming under direct British control as British East Africa (later Kenya) on condition that the Zanzibar Government received £44,000 annually as rent for it. Britain forced the Sultan’s Government to pay £200,000 to the Imperial British East Africa Company as “compensation” for its territory on the mainland – even though Britain, not Zanzibar was gaining control of it again. Therefore the £200,000 which Germany had paid to Zanzibar in 1890 for German East Africa, was used to pay for the return of British East Africa – to the British Government. In return £6,000 a year was to be paid to the Sultan’s government as interest of 3% on this £200,000. In addition, the Company received a further £50,000 from the British Government in compensation.
1896 AD 25th August: Death of Seyyid Hamed bin Thuwain. The same day, Khaled bin Barghash moved into the palace with many followers and attempted for the second time to usurp the throne. With 2000 men behind him, including the Sultan’s bodyguard, he took a task force of 60 men and climbed into the palace through a window. He declared himself Sultan and raised the Sultan’s plain red flag. 27th August 9.00 am: Bombardment of the Palaces by the British fleet which was anchored 150 yards off the town. This included: the warship H.M.S. Philomel under Captain O’Callaghan; the first-class cruiser H.M.S. St. George – flagship of Rear-Admiral Rawson; two gunboats: H.M.S. Thrush and H.M.S. Sparrow and the third-class cruiser H.M.S. Racoon. The firing lasted for only forty minutes. The Sultan’s wooden armed corvette, the Glasgow, returned fire and was sunk. The guns and troops in the Palace square received a direct hit immediately and the smaller of the Palace buildings plus the adjoining Harem Palace were demolished. Seyyid Khaled’s casualties were about five hundred killed and wounded. The British had one casualty. Khaled escaped from the burning Palace on horseback and took refuge in the German Consulate. The Germans escorted him to a waiting gunboat and took him away to Dar es Salaam where he lived until the defeat of the Germans in East Africa during the First World War. Then he was sent to St Helena and later to the Seychelles until in 1925 he was allowed to return to Mombasa where he remained until his death in 1927, aged 49. Seyyid Hamoud bin Muhammad acceded to the throne of Zanzibar. (Reigned 1896-1902).
1897 AD 5th April: Slavery in Zanzibar was totally abolished after many Decrees, the first of them enacted by Seyyid Said in 1822. At this time there were 50 – to 60,000 slaves in Zanzibar. By the end of the year only about 2,000 of them had claimed their freedom.
1899 AD December: The 5% ad calorem customs tax was re-imposed.
1901 AD 100,000 pounds worth of Zanzibar 3% Debentures were issued in London at par. Principal repayable not later than 1st October 1931. 4th October: Sir Lloyd Mathews died in Zanzibar of fever, after living there for 20 years. He was buried at the English Cemetery in Ziwani and a Monument was erected.
1902 AD 18th July: Seyyid Hamoud bin Muhammad died. Seyyid Ali bin Hamoud acceded. (Reigned 1902-1911). He had been sent to school at Harrow and was so anglicized that he could not speak Kiswahili or Arabic. He had to speak to his own mother through an interpreter when he returned to Zanzibar. Never happy as Sultan of Zanzibar, he abdicated the throne on 9th December 1911. He died in Paris in 1918.
1904 AD 9th May: Henry Stanley, explorer, died, aged 63 years. His body was taken to Westminster Abbey for a special service but he was not buried there beside David Livingstone, as he had hoped. Light and Harbour dues were imposed in Zanzibar for the first time.
1905 AD 13th January: Benadir Coast sold to Italy for 144,000 pounds. 13th June: Hamed bin Muhammad, alias Tippu Tip, explorer and slave trader, died at Zanzibar. September: Plague in Zanzibar.
1907 AD The Zanzibar Army was disbanded and the defence of the country entrusted to two companies of the King’s African Rifles. 10th December: Zanzibar and Pemba Wireless Service was opened. Legal status of slavery came to an end in British East Africa. In German East Africa it was not abolished until 1922. In 1927 slave running was still going on.
1908 AD January: Import duty raised to 71/2% from 5% ad calorem. Abolition of duties on goods re-exported in their original condition. The silver Rupee of British India made was made the standard coin of the Protectorate and the British Sovereign made legal tender at Rs 15 per pound. Zanzibar Government currency notes issued. Final abolition of the Consular Courts of the various foreign powers at Zanzibar. All subjects, irrespective of nationality, thus became amenable to British jurisdiction. 10th November: Sir Basil Cave returned from the post of H.B.M. Agent and Consul General at Zanzibar.
1909 AD 1st February: Mr E.A.W. Clarke appointed Agent and Consul-General in Zanzibar. July: Decree signed by Seyyid Ali abolishing slavery in Zanzibar and Pemba.
1910 AD 12th February: Seyyid Abdulla bin Khalifa born.
1911 AD Seyyid Khalifa bin Harub visited England for the first time in the company of the Sultan, Seyyid Ali bin Hamoud, for the Coronation of His Majesty King George V. 9th December: Seyyid Ali bin Hamoud abdicated whilst in Europe, on grounds of ill health. 9th December: Seyyid Khalifa bin Harub ascended the throne of Zanzibar. He reigned for 49 years and earned the respect and affection of his people. 31st December: Last date upon which claims for compensation to ARabl slave owners could be paid.
1913 AD 14th February: Mr E.A.W. Clarke, H.B.M. Agent and Consul-General died in Zanzibar. He was buried in the English Cemetery at Ziwani, where his grave can still be seen.
1914 AD 1st January: Control of Zanzibar transferred formally from the British Foreign Office to the Colonial Office. The offices of High Commissioner for Zanzibar (vested in the Governor of Kenya), British Resident to Zanzibar and Chief Secretary to the Zanzibar Government were created. These posts were formally inaugurated int he following April by Sir Henry Belfield K.C.M.G., he himself being the first High Commissioner. Major F.B. Pearce C.M.G. was made the first British Resident, and Mr J.H. Sinclair, who up to that time had been H.B.M. Agent and Consul General, was made the first Chief Secretary to the Government of Zanzibar. 4th August: England and Germany at war. 5th August: Zanzibar declared war on Germany and the Treaty of Zanzibar with Germany lapsed. 20th August: Zanzibar declared war on Austria and the Treaty of Zanzibar with Austria lapsed. 20th September: The German Cruiser “Konigsberg”, firing from just off Mbweni, attacked and sank H.M.S. “Pegasus”, lying in Zanzibar Harbour; 24 petty officers died on board and were buried on Grave Island the same day. Others died of wounds later and were buried in the English Cemetery at Ziwani. They were later exhumed and removed to the Commonwealth Cemetery in Dar es Salaam by the War Graves Commission.
1916 AD 4th September: British troops occupied Dar es Salaam.
1917 AD 16th March: Treaty of Russia with Zanzibar lapsed by the disruption of the Russian Empire. Owing to the rise in the price of silver, the rate of exchange was raised by the Government of India to 1s 5d per rupee.
1918 AD 11th November: The Armistice was signed and the First World War ended.
1919 AD January: Former German East Africa was brought under British civilian administration.
1920 AD Exchange rate of rupee fixed by Government of India at 2s gold. 5th July: Education Commission appointed in Zanzibar. British sovereign demonetised in Zanzibar.
1927 AD 21st November: Indirect rule adopted in Tanganyika Territory.
1951 AD July: Trouble sparked by judgment of cattle-owners refusing to submit their cattle for vaccination. At this time the population of Zanzibar was about 120,000 of whom about 180 were Europeans.
1960 AD Death of Sultan Khalifa II bin Harub and accession of his son Abdullah bin Khalifa to the throne of Zanzibar. (Reigned 1960-1963).
1963 AD Death of Seyyid Abdullah and accession of his son Jamshid bin Abdullah.
1964 AD The Zanzibar Revolution. Seyyid Jamshid banished and the Sultancy abolished.