Zanzibar: Imperial Visions and Ottoman Connections with Jeffery Dyer

Zanzibar, Street scene
Matson Photo Service, 1936
Zanzibar and the Swahili coast of East Africa sat at the interface of the Ottoman world, the Indian Ocean, and the rich mainland. When Portuguese sailors began to enter the Indian Ocean trade networks during the sixteenth century, the region also came within the sphere of European maritime empires. However,  before Zanzibar entered into any lasting a colonial relationship with a European power (the British at the end of the nineteenth century), a dynasty based in Muscat (modern-day Oman) that had its own imperial visions controlled the island. In this podcast, Jeffrey Dyer reconstructs the historical context of early nineteenth-century Zanzibar, the role of the Busaidi sultans of Muscat and Zanzibar among global empires, and connections to late-Ottoman dabbling in imperial influence.

MP3 File

Jeffery Dyer is a PhD candidate at Boston College studying Ottoman global history
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Citation: "Zanzibar: Imperial Visions and Ottoman Connections," Jeffery Dyer and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 82 (December 1, 2012)

Zanzibar motor road bordered by clove trees and stately palms,1936
Maston Photo Service (LOC -

Drying cloves at Zanzibar, c. 1890-1923 - Carpenter Collection (LOC -
Zanzibar, Bags of cloves, 1936 - Matson Photo Service (LOC -
Zanzibar fruit market, 1936 - Matson Photo Service (LOC -
Note for the listener: This podcast is based in part on primary source research. It also makes use of publicly available information and draws from the following works below, which are also mentioned during the course of the episode. For the purposes of academic citation, we encourage you to consult these works as well. 

Select Bibliography

Benett, Norman Robert. A History of the Arab State of Zanzibar. London: Methuen & Co., 1978

Burton, Richard Francis.  Zanzibar: City, Island, Coast.  London: Tinsley, 1872.

Kavas, Ahmed. "Dogu Afrika Sahlinde Osmanli Hakimiyeti: Kuzey Somali'de Zeyla Iskelesinin Konumu (1265-1334/1849-1916)" Islam Arastirmalari Dergisi 5 (Istanbul, 2001) 109-134.

Kumar, Ravinder.  “The Dismemberment of Oman and British Policy Towards the Persian Gulf.” Islamic Culture. Vol. 36 (1962): 8-19.

Toledano, Ehud R. The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression, 1840-1890. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1982.  

Uğur, Hatice. Osmanlı Afrika'sında Bir Sultanlık Zengibar. Küre Yayınları 2005.

Episode Music: Master Musicians of Tanzania - Lukunzi


Unknown said…
We already booked breezes zanzibar hotel for our next family outing and I can't wait to explore the place. It seems to have a lot of history.
Unknown said…
These pictures are amazing. I think they would make for a really nice background for postcards or greeting cards. The photos seem to have a lot of history and character.

Mischna Ong
Anonymous said…
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TollyTravel said…
I wish I had known about this pod-cast, and others like it, before going to Zanzibar in 2016!

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