Sultanate of Zanzibar

1856-1964 monarchy in the Indian Ocean

The Sultanate of Zanzibar (Swahili: Usultani wa Zanzibar; Arabic: سلطنة زنجبار, Sulṭanat Zanjībār), also known as the Zanzibar Sultanate, was an East African Muslim state controlled by the Sultan of Zanzibar, in place between 1856 and 1964. The Sultanate's territories varied over time, and after a period of decline, the state had sovereignty over only the Zanzibar Archipelago and a 16-kilometre-wide (10 mi) strip along the Kenyan coast, with the interior of Kenya constituting the British Kenya Colony and the coastal strip administered as a de facto part of that colony.

"Ivory and slaves"

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  • The town of Zanzibar, a port of call for several steamship lines, was chosen, even in antiquity, notably by Phoenicians and Arabians, as the most suitable entrepôt for trade on the eastern coast of Africa.
  • Ivory has long been the chief article in Zanzibar trade, and "ivory and slaves" formed the shibboleth of the Arabian settlers and traders of past centuries.
  • ZANZIBARI, n. An inhabitant of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, off the eastern coast of Africa. The Zanzibaris, a warlike people, are best known in this country through a threatening diplomatic incident that occurred a few years ago. The American consul at the capital occupied a dwelling that faced the sea, with a sandy beach between. Greatly to the scandal of this official's family, and against repeated remonstrances of the official himself, the people of the city persisted in using the beach for bathing. One day a woman came down to the edge of the water and was stooping to remove her attire (a pair of sandals) when the consul, incensed beyond restraint, fired a charge of bird-shot into the most conspicuous part of her person. Unfortunately for the existing entente cordiale between two great nations, she was the Sultana.

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