An independent State in South-eastern Arabia extending along a coast line—S.E. and S. W.— of almost 1,000 miles from the Gulf of Ormuz and inland to the deserts. Area, 82,000 square miles; population, estimated at 500,000, chiefly Arabs. The capital, Maskat and the adjacent town of Matra have together about 25,000 inhabitants. Maskat was occupied by the Portuguese from 1508 to the middle of the seventeenth century. After various vicissitudes it was recovered in the eighteenth century by Ahmed bin Sa’eed, of Yemenite origin, who was elected Imam in 1741, and whose family have since ruled. The present Sultan is Seyyid Feysil bin Turki, second son of the late Seyyid Turki bin Sa’eed bin Sultan, who succeeded his father June 4, 1888, and was formally recognised by the British Government. In the beginning of last century the power of the Imam of Oman extended over a large area of Arabia, the islands in the Persian Gulf, a strip of the Persian coast, and a long strip of the African coast south of Cape Guardafui, including Socotra and Zanzibar. On the death of Sultan Sa’eed in 1856, one son proclaimed himself Sultan in Zanzibar and another in Maskat. Eventually the rivals agreed to submit their claims to the arbitration of Lord Canning, Viceroy of India, who formally separated the two Sultanates. Subsequent troubles curtailed the area of the state in Asia. The island of Kishm or Tawilah, near the entrance of the Persian Gulf, formerly belonging to the Imam of Oman, is now under Persian government and is ruled by a Sheikh, but the port of Basidu at the western extremity of the island is British. Further south on the Persian coast of the Gulf of Oman is the Port of Jask formerly belonging to Oman, but now British. The closest relations have for years existed between the Government of India and Oman and a British Consul and Political Agent resides at Maskat.
Books of Reference
- Administrative Report of the Persian Gulf Political Residency. Calcutta Annual.Google Scholar
- Report on the Condition and Prospects of British Trade in Oman, Bahrein, &c. by H. W. Maclean. London, 1904.Google Scholar
- Trade of Muscat (Consular Reports Annual Series), London.Google Scholar
- Gobineau (Comte A. de), Trois ans en Asie (1855–58). New ed. [contains a chapter on Maskat]. Paris, 1905.Google Scholar