Slave trade treaty between Britain and the Chief of Sohar in Oman for the more effectual suppression of the slave trade 1849 / 1853

Salve trade treaty between Syed Sijf bin Hamood the Chief of Sohar and the British


Act for carrying into effect the engagement between Her Majesty and Syed Sijf bin Hamood the Chief of Sohar in Arabia for the more effectual Suppression of the slave trade.

Published on behalf of the House of Parliament  by  George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode. The publication date on the treaty is 9 May 1853 (however in the text the treaty-date is 22 May 1849 and in fact in 1849 Saif was murdered on behalf of his father!


 Oman slavery  treaty

Slave Trade treaty Sohar Oman 1849

Background to the treaty with Sohar:

Objective of the treaty is to:

  • Prohibit the exportation of slaves from the coast of Africa in ships belonging to subjects of the Sheik of Sohar.
  • Ensure that British ships have the right to check ships from Sohar if there are any slaves on board.  
  • Ships carrying slaves will face severe penalties

Wendell Phillips in his Oman a History writes on page: 100:101:  "Sohar was severely damaged time and again by pirate raids from the beginning of the 19th century onwards. In 1819 a major naval battle took place between the British Navy and a pirate fleet off the coast of Sohar. This resulted in temporary peace but by 1829 the Sohar fort was scaled by ladders and seized by the ambitious Hamud bin Azzan, the son of Azzan bin Qais, the Imam Ahmed`s third son. In 1836 Sultan Said the Great blockaded the city by land and sea with indecisive results.  Before Sultan Said embarked for  Zanzibar, an English warship brought Hamud to Muscat where he was forcibly persuaded to hand over the rule of Sohar to his son Saif, along with his written and signed promise that he would not stir up strife against the Sultan or his children.  In 1849 Hamud renounced his recently adopted life of piety and asceticism long enough to hire his son´s confidential servant to murder his young master (Saif ) in bed.... Public mourning for his son´s dead was forbidden by his father. Hamud assumed power again only to be invited on a pleasure excursion by the Sultan´s son Saiyid Thuwainy, who in breach of faith  and hospitality rarely equalled  in the Arab history (in probable obedience to his father´s instructions) having stilled Hamud´s suspicions, faithlessly betrayed his guest and cousin on the shore near Shinas. Hamud was suddenly seized, bound and conveyed to the frigtate Faiz Allum for shipment to a dungeon in Jalali Fort in Muscat where he died"

From 1852 Sohar formed an integral part of Oman. In 1920 Sohar became again an independent Sultanate separate  from Oman:  The Sohar Sultanate lasted from 1920 until about 1932. In 1920, Sheik Ali Banu Bu Ali, a relative of Sultan Taimur bin Faisal, rebelled in the northern town of Sohar and proclaimed himself Sultan but was deposed by the British in 1932.

  1. "Oman a History" by Wendell Phillips published by Longman group Ltd 1971; Bombay Government selections  No XXIV 1856 p 230.
  2. Vom Mittelmeer zum Perzischen Golf band II by Max von Oppenheim  page 327-328