The Edmondson Blog

Anniversary Of The Shortest War Of All

Today is the 114th anniversary of the shortest war of all. On 27 August, 1896, between 9.02 and 9.40 AM, the Anglo-Zanzibar War was "fought" between the United Kingdom and the tiny island of Zanzibar.

The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed as Sultan, who was more favourable to their interests, so they sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace. The ultimatum expired at 09:00 East Africa Time (EAT), by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunships, 150 marines and sailors, and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area. Two minutes later, they set the palace on fire and disabled the defending artillery. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40.

The Sultan's forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured. Sultan Khalid received asylum in the German consulate before escaping to Tanganyika. The British quickly placed Sultan Hamud in power at the head of a puppet government. The war marked the end of Zanzibar as a sovereign state and the start of a period of heavy British influence.

0 Responses to “Anniversary Of The Shortest War Of All”

Post a Comment

© 2007 The Edmondson Blog