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Historical Description[]

Due to its good natural harbor and convenient position off the eastern coast of Africa, the island of Zanzibar has been a major trading port for centuries. It fell under Portuguese rule in the early 16th century and was conquered by the sultan of Oman in 1698. In 1840, the capital of the sultanate was moved from Muscat in Oman to the city of Stone Town in Zanzibar.

The island had become famous for its trade in spices and slaves, which ultimately motivated the British to take an interest in it. Their reasons were both commercial and humanitarian; by the mid-nineteenth century, Britain had abolished slavery and wanted to influence others to do the same. The slave trade was banned in 1873 due to British pressure, but owning slaves was still permitted. In 1896, the island sultanate lost the shortest war in history: the Anglo-Zanzibar War, which lasted 38 minutes. As a result, Zanzibar became a British protectorate, and slavery was finally abolished there the following year.

History[]

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