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Zanzibar (semi-autonomous archipelago and island, Tanzania)

Zanzibar (zăn´zĬbär, zănzĬbär´), semi-autonomous archipelago, Tanzania, E Africa, in the Indian Ocean c. 20 mi (32 km) off the mainland, consisting of the island of Zanzibar or Unjuga (1994 est. pop. 800,000), 600 sq mi (1,554 sq km), Pemba, and neighboring smaller islands. The main towns of the archipelago are Zanzibar (or Stone Town), Chwaka, Kizimkazi, and Koani (all on Zanzibar) and Wete, Chake Chake, and Mkoani (on Pemba). Zanzibar island, which is low-lying, with a maximum elevation of about 390 ft (120 m), is subdivided into three regions.

People

The majority of the population belongs to the Bantu-speaking Hadimu ethnic group. Other ethnic groups include the Tumbatu (who live on Tumbatu and in the northern part of Zanzibar) and migrants from the E African mainland and from the Comoros Islands. In addition, a small percentage of the inhabitants is of Arab and Persian descent and some are of South Asian background. Most Zanzibaris are Sunni Muslims; some follow traditional beliefs, and there are also small numbers of Christians and Hindus. Swahili is predominantly spoken.

Economy

The economy of Zanzibar island is almost exclusively agricultural; fertile soil is limited to the western half of the island. The chief commodities produced are cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, corn, plantains, citrus fruit, cloves (also on Pemba), coconuts, and cacao. There is a sizable fishing industry. The island's few manufactures include clove oil and woven goods. Artisans make objects of wood, ivory, and metal. Lime is the only mineral resource. The main imports are foodstuffs and fuel; the principal exports are cloves and copra.

History

Early History

The first permanent residents of Zanzibar seem to have been the ancestors of the Hadimu and Tumbatu, who began arriving from the E African mainland c.AD 1000. They had belonged to various mainland ethnic groups, and on Zanzibar they lived in small villages and did not coalesce to form larger political units. Because they lacked central organization, they were easily subjugated by outsiders.

Traders from Arabia, the Persian Gulf region of modern Iran (especially Shiraz), and W India probably visited Zanzibar as early as the 1st cent.; they used the monsoon winds to sail across the Indian Ocean and landed at the sheltered harbor located on the site of present-day Zanzibar town. Although the islands had few resources of interest to the traders, they offered a good point from which to make contact with the towns of the E African coast.

Traders from the Persian Gulf region began to settle in small numbers on Zanzibar in the late 11th or 12th cent.; they intermarried with the indigenous Africans and eventually a hereditary ruler (known as the Mwenyi Mkuu or Jumbe), emerged among the Hadimu. A similar ruler, called the Sheha, was set up among the Tumbatu. Neither rulers had much power, but they helped solidify the ethnic identity of their respective peoples.

Asian, European, and Arab Influences

The Chinese admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He) moored his vast trading fleet in the Zanzibar harbor early in the 15th cent. The first European to visit Zanzibar was the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama in 1499; by 1503 the Portuguese had gained control of Zanzibar, and soon they held most of the E African coast. The Portuguese established a trading station and a Roman Catholic mission in Zanzibar and dominated the island for some 200 years. Nonetheless, their cultural impact proved to be minimal. In 1698, Arabs from Oman ousted the Portuguese from E Africa, including Zanzibar.

The Omanis gained nominal control of the islands, but until the reign of Sayyid Said (1804–56) they took little interest in them. Said recognized the commercial value of E Africa and increasingly turned his attention to Zanzibar and Pemba. In 1840 he permanently moved his court to Zanzibar town, and proceeded to exploit the natural resources of the island by planting thousands of clove trees.

Said brought many Arabs with him, and they gained control of Zanzibar's fertile soil, forcing most of the Hadimu to migrate to the eastern part of Zanzibar island. The Hadimu were also obligated to work on the clove plantations. Said controlled much of the E African coast, and Zanzibar became the main center of the E African ivory and slave trade. Some of the slaves were used on the clove plantations, and others were exported to other parts of Africa and overseas. Zanzibar's trade was run by Omanis, who organized caravans into the interior of E Africa; the trade was largely financed by Indians resident on Zanzibar, many of whom were agents of Bombay firms.

On Said's death in 1856 his African and Omani holdings were separated, with his son Majid becoming sultan of Zanzibar. Majid was succeeded as sultan by Barghash in 1870, by Khalifa in 1888, by Ali ibn Said in 1890, by Hamid ibn Thuwain in 1893, by Hamoud ibn Muhammad in 1896, by Ali in 1902, by Khalifa ibn Naroub in 1911, by Abdullah ibn Khalifa in 1960, and by Jamshid ibn Abdullah in 1963.

From the 1820s, British, German, and U.S. traders were active on Zanzibar. As early as 1841 the representative of the British government on Zanzibar was an influential adviser of the sultan. This was especially the case under Sir John Kirk, the British consul from 1866 to 1887. In a treaty with Great Britain in 1873, Barghash agreed to halt the slave trade in his realm. During the scramble for African territory among European powers, Great Britain gained a protectorate over Zanzibar and Pemba by a treaty with Germany in 1890. The sultan's mainland holdings were incorporated in German East Africa (later Tanganyika), British East Africa (later Kenya), and Italian Somaliland.

The British considered Zanzibar an essentially Arab country and maintained the prevailing power structure. The office of sultan was retained (although stripped of most of its power), and Arabs, almost to the exclusion of other groups, were given opportunities for higher education and were recruited for bureaucratic posts. The chief government official during the period 1890 to 1913 was the British consul general, and from 1913 to 1963 it was the British resident. From 1926 the resident was advised by a legislative assembly.

Independence and Union

After World War II political activity in Zanzibar increased. In the 1950s three main political parties were established—the Zanzibar Nationalist party (ZNP) and its offshoot the Zanzibar and Pemba People's party (ZPPP), both of which principally represented the Arabs, and the Afro-Shirazi party (ASP), whose followers were Africans. In 1957 popularly elected representatives sat on the legislative council for the first time, and in 1961, they were given a majority of seats. In June, 1963, Zanzibar gained internal self-government, and a ZNP-ZPPP coalition emerged victorious in elections held in July. On Dec. 10, 1963, Zanzibar (including Pemba) became independent, with Sultan Jamshid ibn Abdullah as head of state and Prime Minister Muhammad Shamte Hamadi, also an Arab, as the leader of government.

On Jan. 12, 1964, this arrangement was overthrown by a violent leftist revolt of the Africans led by John Okello. A republic was declared, with Abeid Karume of the ASP as its president and as head of the Revolutionary Council (the country's chief governmental body). The sultan was forced into exile, all land was nationalized, the ZNP and ZPPP were banned, and numerous Arabs were imprisoned. Subsequently, many other Arabs and some Indians left the country. Three months later Zanzibar and Tanganyika agreed to merge, and the resulting republic was renamed Tanzania in Oct., 1964.

Zanzibar retains considerable independence in internal affairs, but its foreign relations and defense are handled by the central government. Zanzibar's chief executive serves as the first vice president of Tanzania when Tanzania's president is Tanganyikan, and as second vice president when Tanzania's president is Zanzibari. In 1979 a separate constitution was approved for Zanzibar.

In 1984, Zanzibar's president, Aboud Jumbe, resigned, as the Tanzanian government appeared to be seeking greater control over Zanzibar. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a mainland loyalist, took over as president and several secessionists were arrested. Mwinyi went on to introduce liberal reforms in Zanzibar and in the mainland and became president of Tanzania in 1986. In 1990, Dr. Salmin Amour became president of Zanzibar; he was returned to office in a 1995 vote that observers said was rigged.

Amani Karume was elected president in 2000 in an election with such blatant irregularities that international observers denounced it as showing contempt for Zanzibar's citizens; the opposition, which favored greater independence, had been expected to do well. An accord signed in 2001 called for a number of electoral and governmental reforms that were designed to end political tensions.

Karume was reelected in 2005 in an election that was criticized for some irregularites and political violence and denounced by the opposition, but it was also regarded as an improvement over previous elections. Subsequent negotiations to establish a coalition government that would include the opposition, which is especially strong on Pemba, proved unsuccessful, but in 2010 voters in a referendum approved the formation of proportionally based power-sharing coalition governments. A 2006 court challenge by Zanzibari activists to the legality of the 1964 Act of Union that formed Tanzania was dismissed by the High Court of Zanzibar. Ali Mohamed Shein, the ruling party candidate, was narrowly elected president in 2010. In recent years there have been increasing sectarian tensions and attacks on Zanzibar.

Bibliography

See J. M. Gray, History of Zanzibar from the Middle Ages to 1856 (1962); F. Cooper, From Slaves to Squatters: Plantation Labor and Agriculture in Zanzibar and Coastal Kenya, 1890–1925 (1980); A. Clayton, The Zanzibar Revolution and Its Aftermath (1981); A. Sheriff, Slaves, Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar (1987); C. Bird, The Sultan's Shadow (2010).

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Zanzibar

ZANZIBAR

Islands and coastal land in East Africa.

From the tenth century, many Arabs emigrated to Zanzibar, the 640-square-mile (1,658 sq. km) island of that name (also neighboring islands and the adjacent coast of East Africa). In 1698 Oman seized Zanzibar from the Portuguese, and in 1841 Oman's ruler, Shaykh Sayyid Saʿid, permanently moved his capital there from Muscat. Wealthy Omanis established an extensive plantation economy centered on clove production using African slave labor. After Saʿid's death in 1856, contention between his sons led to Britain's Canning Award (1861), splitting Oman and Zanzibar into separate sultanates. The latter declined, partly because of British suppression of the slave trade in 1873, and became a British protectorate in 1890.

Following Zanzibar's independence (1963) and union with Tanganyika (1964), the Arab population was severely mistreated by the Africans. Several thousand emigrated, mostly to the capital area of Muscat in Oman, after the accession of Sultan Qabus in 1970. In Zanzibar in 2000 and 2001, political tensions and violence followed elections that observers denounced as irregular. The major political parties signed an agreement in October 2001 calling for electoral reforms.


Bibliography


Bennett, Norman R. A History of the Arab State of Zanzibar. London: Methuen, 1978.

malcolm c. peck

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Zanzibar

Zanzibar Island region of Tanzania, in the Indian Ocean, off the e coast of Africa; the capital is Zanzibar. The first European discovery was by Vasco da Gama in 1499, and the Portuguese quickly established colonial rule. In the late 17th century, it came under the control of the Omani Arabs, who developed into the major centre of the East African ivory and slave trade. The slave trade halted in 1873, and in 1890 the Sultanate of Zanzibar became a British Protectorate. In 1963, it became an independent state and a member of the Commonwealth. Tension between the Arab ruling class and indigenous Africans (the majority of the population) led to the overthrow of the Sultanate. In 1964, Zanzibar and Tanganyika merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Zanzibar retained control over domestic affairs. During the 1980s and 1990s, conflict developed between secessionist and mainland centralist forces. In 1993, a regional parliament for Zanzibar was established. Violence erupted on the islands after 2000 elections. The two largest population groups are the Hadimu and Tumbatu. The major religion is Sunni Muslim, and the main language is Swahili. The chief export is cloves, and the biggest industry is fishing. Area: 1660sq km (641sq mi). Pop. (2002 est.) 934,400 (with Pemba).

http://www.zanzibar.net

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Zanzibar (city, Tanzania)

Zanzibar (zăn´zĬbär, zănzĬbär´) or Stone Town, city (1994 est. pop. 160,000), capital of the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar and of Zanzibar West region, Tanzania, on the west coast of Zanzibar island, separated by a 22-mile (35-km) wide channel from the mainland of E Africa. It is the island's chief commercial center and seaport. Cloves and copra are the main exports. Zanzibar is a picturesque, cosmopolitan city, with winding streets, colorful bazaars, and interesting architecture. Of note are several mosques, the former sultan's palace, and Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals.

Founded in the 16th cent. as a Portuguese trade depot, the city remained insignificant until the 19th cent., when the sultan of Oman transferred (1841) his court there. It flourished as a major center of the E African ivory and slave trade and was regularly visited by U.S., British, and German trading vessels. In 1890 it became the capital of the British protectorate of Zanzibar (including the island of Pemba), and in 1963 it was made the capital of the independent republic of Zanzibar. When Zanzibar merged with Tanganyika in 1964 to form Tanzania, the city of Zanzibar continued as the seat of the archipelago's government.

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Zanzibar

Zanzibar. Former British protectorate. Britain first became involved in Zanzibar in the 19th cent. because the island was one of the main depots for the export of east African slaves. A succession of able British consuls-general exerted an informal protectorate over the island, and the arrangement was regularized in 1890 when Britain became responsible for the administration of Zanzibar and the adjacent islands on the sultan's behalf. The slave trade was formally abolished in the sultan's dominions in 1897. The export of cloves succeeded the slave trade as the protectorate's main source of income. Zanzibar became independent in 1963 and joined with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964.

Kenneth Ingham

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Zanzibar

ZanzibarAkbar • handlebar • sandbar • kasbah •baba • rebar • heelbar • Finbar •millibar • coolibah • minibar •Zanzibar • sidebar • crossbar •crowbar, towbar •rollbar • Nicobar • isobar • durbar

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