War between Britain and Zanzibar resulting in the ruined palaces (Guiness book of records: Shortest war ever, lasting 38 minutes)

Slide-show: Zanzibar palace in Ruins: Shortest war ever

War between Britain and Zanzibar (Shortest war ever) War broke out between Zanzibar and the United Kingdom in 1896 when the sultan of Zanzibar died and his nephew, Khalid bin Barghash seized power in a coup. The unequal war lasted only 38 minutes!Published in the supplement to the British magazine Graphic in 1896 entitled "40 minutes work at Zanzibar"  See the slide-show for photos of the resulting devastation.

The Shortest War in History

The British treated Zanzibar as a "protectorate" As Khalid did not want to protect the British interest the British were very upset. The old sultan had tolerated the growing Western influence and meddling in Zanzibar affairs. However the Omani / Arab population of Zanzibar and East Africa was already for a long time unhappy about loss of influence due to the Germans, French and in particular British undertakings in East Africa. Which already had resulted in the up rise of 1888 against the sultan and the German DOA company on the African mainland. Alarmed by the prospect of a German takeover, the Royal Navy assembled five warships off the Zanzibar coast, nearby the sultan’s palace and ordered Khalid bin Barghash to give up the throne in favor of the old sultan’s elder son. Khalid bin Barghash, not only refused but also declared war on the British. The Royal Navy opened fire on the Sultan´s ship Glasgow and the on 27th August 1896. The Glasgow sank after fifteen minutes and the palace walls crumbled under gunfire causing numerous casualties amongst the sultan’s army, obliging him to hoist the white flag of surrender at 9:45 thereby ending the shortest war in history. Khalid bin Bargash took refuge in the German consulate and was later smuggled out to Dar es Salaam

The slide-show shows four photos of the devastation caused in Zanzibar by the war.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zanzibar_War
  2. Abyssina to Zanzibar 1850s-1950s Catalogue of the photographic archive of the Winterton Africana collection Allsworth rare books 2003 page 128

"American style"  Youtube film on shortest war ever: