From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Zanzibar (disambiguation).
Map of Zanzibar's main island
Map of Zanzibar's main island

Zanzibar, Tanzania, comprises a pair of islands off the east coast of Africa called Zanzibar ('Unguja') (1994 est. pop. 800,000, 1,554 km) and Pemba. They are, together with Mafia Island, sometimes referred to as the Spice Islands, though this term is more commonly associated with the Maluku Islands.

The main town and economic centre is Stone Town on the actual island of Zanzibar.

Zanzibar's main industries are spices (including nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper) and tourism. Zanzibar is also the only home of the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey.



Map Of Spice Islands (Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia)
Map Of Spice Islands (Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia)

Zanzibar was settled by Persian immigrants from Shiraz, and the name Zanzibar probably derives from the Persian زنگبار Zangi-bar meaning "Coast of the Blacks". However, the name could also have been derived from the Arabic Zayn Z'al Barr, meaning "Fair is this land". The island was later controlled by Portugal for a period starting in 1503.

In 1698 Zanzibar became part of the overseas holdings of Oman, falling under the control of the Sultan of Oman. On April 6, 1861, following a struggle over the accession to the position of Sultan of Oman, Zanzibar and Oman were divided into two separate principalities. Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid (1834/5-1870), son of Sayyid Said bin Sultan Al-Busaid, became Sultan of Zanzibar, while his brother Sayyid Turki bin Said Al-Busaid (1832-1888) became Sultan of Oman.

During this period, the Sultan of Zanzibar also controlled a substantial portion of the east African coast, known as Zanj, including Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. In November 1886, a German-British border commission established the Zanj as a 10-nautical-mile-wide strip along the coast from Cape Delgado (now in Mozambique) to Kipini (now in Kenya) including all offshore islands and several towns in what is now in Somalia . However, from 1887 to 1892, all of these mainland possessions were subsequently lost to the colonial powers of Britain, Germany, and Italy although some were not formally sold or ceded until the 20th Century (e.g., Mogadishu to Italy in 1905 and Mombasa to Kenya in 1963).

The British Empire gradually took over and Zanzibar and the British position was was formalized by the 1890 Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty in which Germany pledged not to interfere with British interests in insular Zanzibar and Zanzibar became a protectorate of the United Kingdom that year. The British appointed first Viziers from 1890 to 1913, and then British Residents from 1913 to 1963.

In 1896, the short Anglo-Zanzibar War broke out over the succession of Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini and ended with the accession of British client Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed. Acquiesing to Britsh demands, Hamoud brought an end to Zanzibars role as a centre for the eastern slave trade that had begun under Omani rule in 17th Century by banning slavery and freeing the slaves of Zanzibar.

On December 19, 1963, Zanzibar received its independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy under the Sultan. This state of affairs was short-lived, as the Sultan was overthrown on January 12, 1964, and on April 26 of that year Zanzibar merged with the mainland state of Tanganyika to form Tanzania, of which it remains a part to this day.


Missing image
Flag since January 2005

Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, it elects its own president who is head of government for matters internal to the island. Amani Abeid Karume was elected to that office on October 29 2000. The fairness of this election was queried, and in January 2001 at least 27 peaceful protestors were killed by the police. [1] (

Zanzibar also has its own House of Representatives (with 50 seats, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms) to make laws especially for it.

Sultans of Zanzibar

  1. Majid bin Said (1856-1870)
  2. Barghash bin Said (1870-1888)
  3. Khalifah bin Said (1888-1890)
  4. Ali bin Said (1890-1893)
  5. Hamad bin Thuwaini (1893-1896)
  6. Khalid bin Barghash (1896)
  7. Hamud bin Muhammed (1896-1902)
  8. Ali bin Hamud (1902-1911) (abdicated)
  9. Khalifa bin Harub (1911-1960)
  10. Abdullah bin Khalifa (1960-1963)
  11. Jamshid bin Abdullah (1963-1964)


  1. Sir Lloyd William Matthews, (1890 - 1901)
  2. A.S. Rogers, (1901 - 1906)
  3. Arthue Raikes, (1906 - 1908)
  4. Francis Barton, (1906 - 1913)

British Residents

  1. Francis Pearce, (1913 - 1922)
  2. John Sinclair, (1922 - 1923)
  3. Alfred Hollis, (1923 - 1929)
  4. Richard Rankine, (1929 - 1937)
  5. John Hall, (1937 - 1940)
  6. Henry Pilling, (1940 - 1946)
  7. Vincent Glenday, 1946 - 1951)
  8. John Rankine, (1952 - 1954)
  9. Henry Potter, 1954 - 1959)
  10. Arthur Mooring, (1959 - 1963)


Missing image
Photograph of woman from Zanzibar by Coutinho brothers, c. 1890

Zanzibar has a fascinating history influenced by Persians, Arabs, Muslims, the Portuguese and the African mainland. Stone Town is a place of winding lanes, circular towers, carved wooden doors, raised terraces and beautiful mosques. Important architectural features are the Livingstone house, the Guliani Bridge, and the House of Wonders, a palace constructed by Sultan Barghash in 1883.

Zanzibar has recently outlawed homosexual sex. The penality for lesbian intercourse is a maximum of seven years. For gay intercourse the penalty is a maximum of 25 years.


Zanzibar is the leading world clove producer.


The 1896 Anglo-Zanzibar War between Zanzibar and Britain is the shortest war in history. Zanzibar surrendered after 45 minutes [2] (

Zanzibar was the first region in Africa to introduce colour television, in 1973. The first television service in more remote areas of Tanzania was not introduced until some twenty years later.

The musician Farrokh Bulsara (a.k.a Freddie Mercury) of Queen was born in Zanzibar in 1946. There is also a restaurant named 'Mercurys' on the beachfront of Stone Town.

External links

de:sansibar eo:Zanzibaro es:Zanzbar et:Sansibar fr:Zanzibar he:זנזיבר io:Zanzibar ja:ザンジバル島 ko:잔지바르 nl:Zanzibar (eiland) pl:Zanzibar sv:Zanzibar zh:桑給巴爾


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