Antique photo German soldier riding a zebra
Zanzibar is an island located before the East coast of Africa. For more details on this website select BACKGROUND in the top bar of this web-page. The main focus of this web-page is on the Omani Arabs in Zanzibar and East Africa during the 19th century. Zanzibar was a colony of Oman for a long period. The Omani went to East Africa for many centuries because there were a lot of goods for sale they were interested in and in the right monsoon season the trade-winds blew their dhows from Oman to Zanzibar and back again in another monsoon season. In 1856 the British used a "divide and rule" tactic to exploit a succession conflict after the death of Said bin Sultan that resulted in a split between Oman and Zanzibar and a gradual decline of the prosperity of Oman that lasted until 1970. During the late 19th century the Germans took over control of the East African mainland from the Omani. At the same time it were the Germans who took a serious interest in Omani culture resulting in many photographs and several books in German (e.g. memoirs of Tippu Tip and Bibi Salme) Also many scientific articles relating to the languages spoken in East Africa (Swahili and Arabic spoken by the Omani ) were published. Even some Omani texts were translated into German (e.g. a chronicle about the war between Nachal and Wad il Ma´awil by Walter Rossler 1898) It is estimated that around 100.000 people lived on Zanzibar in 1890.
Unless specified these photos are all original items in our collection. The objective of our website is to put the different objects in their historic context.
Navy officers & Omani official including the Indian Tharia Topan tax-collector in Zanzibar (frontow right). The young Omani official front-row left could be Hamad bin Thuwaini (born 1857), who became sultan in 1893 but we are not sure.
Veiled Omani women in Zanzibar (Gomes & Co approx 1895)
Omani women in Zanzibar, latest fashion (Gomes & Co approx 1895)
Some highlights in this web-page are:
1) The two 1870´s "rooftop" panorama photos of the Old Fort and Stonetown in Zanzibar (probably taken by John Kirk from the lighthouse or a ships-mast)
2) Photo of some British naval and diplomatic staff plus some Omani officials including Tharia Topan
3) The large (over 1 meter long) panorama of the Zanzibar stone-town seafront
4) Some photos of Sultans of Zanzibar
5) A fine large photo of Tippu-Tip (diplomat, ivory and slave-trader) has been listed under the Slavery section and a clipped version is shown on the right-hand side of all our web-pages!
6) Photo of three armed men in Omani costume from Bagamoyo, with in the middle probably Ismael the Wali of Winti.
7) Photo of the Belgian Nicolas Toback in Omani costume, he was the eccentric envoy of King Leopold in the Congo.
8) A fine collection of early postcards of Zanzibar.
9) Some German glass negatives from around 1890 with a German soldier riding a zebra and a photographer between East African tribesmen.
10) Collection of 50 loose photographs (by J. Sturtz) fixed on contemporary carton with the title "Erinnerung an die Ostafrikanische Blockade und meiner Reise an bord SMS Carola 1888-1890" that belonged to Emil Voelker who was on-board the SMS Carola during these events. (variants of these photos were used for the book Land und Leute in Ost Afrika by Wangemann.
Photo taken before 1890: Three armed Omani men from BagamoyoThe man in the middle is probably Ismael the Liwali of Windi